Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marital Suicide- Causes and Analysis

                Few days ago I woke up in the morning and took the newspaper; the first mews I read was “A woman committed suicide by jumping from the 5th floor of a high rise building.” This was a fourth suicide of a married woman in last three months. In Indian society women committing suicide because of domestic violence or women being burnt for dowry demands is not a new thing, but what is surprising here is that all the women who committed suicide were living in a metro city, all of them were well educated, three among them were working, both parents and in laws of these women are rich and the most important thing is that the pattern of suicide is common in all the four cases. In fact two of them committed suicide after throwing their children from up.

               These suicides has raised question over certain well built myths like 1) women’s condition in society has changed, domestic violence, dowry demands, gender based discrimination and marital suicide are things of past. 2) Educated and working women don’t become victim of domestic violence. 3) Gender based discrimination happens only in rural areas, urban and metropolitan areas are free from this evil. These suicides has once again proved that we are still living in a feudal society, where being born as woman is itself a big challenge, since our society doesn’t allow her to come out of mother’s womb. If by chance she is able to see this world, she has to constantly struggle against discrimination, domestic violence, physical, financial and emotional exploitation. Although we can’t bring back the lives of women who committed suicide but we can certainly think and analyse the reasons behind the tragedy so that we can take preventive measures by which no woman should be compelled to give away her life in such a horrible way, in future.

                The first and foremost thing to do is to come out of the state of denial that “all is well”. After this we need to analyse the causes of suicide and bring the culprits to justice. Although on first glance it seems that the most obvious reason behind suicide is breakdown of marriage and atrocities by in laws, but the mystery is not as simple to be solved as it seems. Because these women were educated, they had knowledge of their legal rights and they were also working. They were earning enough to live life comfortably even if they decide to break away from their marriage. Then what lead them to suicide?

               In these cases it is difficult to predict the exact reason behind suicide, because the deceased women haven’t left any suicide note or any other clue by which causes of suicide can be inferred. Police is still doing the investigation and conviction process hasn’t proceeded further except the arrest of in laws. In such situation we can only explore the possibilities which might have led them to take this ultimate step.  

1) Lack of parental support- when a woman is faced with crisis in her marital life, apart from financial security what she desperately require is emotional and moral support from parents. Unfortunately in our society women are considered as “Paraya Dhan”. From the childhood she is taught that your husband’s home is your real home, in your parent’s house you are just a guest. In our society girls are taught to be submissive and tolerant. If a girl retaliates or fights for her right than it is considered improper, because retaliation is considered as masculine feature whereas forget and forgive is considered as feminine feature. Because of thse, in most of the cases women never complaints unless and until the torture become unbearable. Even when she complaints she is advised try to win the hearts of in laws by love, tolerance and patients. Sometimes parents also show indifferent attitude towards her problem by giving advice cum consolation “don’t complaint in trivial matters, learn to adjust and everything will be O.K.” This is the reason many women commit suicide after killing their children, because when even parents don’t support them they get worried about their children’s future that what will happen of children after their death? Who will take care of them?

2) Frustration Aggression hypothesis- A theory in Psychology which states that frustration always leads to aggression. This theory helps us to understand the mentality of a woman who commits suicide out of bad marriage. In the initial stage when a woman is exploited and assaulted by her in laws she hopes that she will be able to change their heart and everything will be O.K, but even after consistent and honest efforts when she miserably fails to change them she feels betrayed. It leads to frustration because all her dreams of happy married life seem to be shattered and the frustration culminates in aggression. Now it depends on the circumstances and personality of the woman whether aggression moves inward or outward. If it moves inward than woman kills herself and if it moves outward than she kills the person who is responsible for her pathetic situation. For instance few months ago a woman killed her drunkard husband by smashing his head with stone while he was a sleep, because he was harassing her for money since last 15 years.

3) Psychological disorder – Mood disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression and personality disorder play important role in triggering suicidal tendencies. Persons suffering from Schizophrenia lives under constant suspicion that somebody wants to kill them, is controlling or reading their thoughts and everyone around them is planning conspiracy against them. Under these suspicions they sometime get so much agitated that may kill themselves or others. Similarly a person with Dependent Personality Disorder feels extremely anxious about their interpersonal relation. They fear that their loved one will leave them. They are unable to take decision on even trivial matters like what to cook for dinner? They don’t like to stay alone and because of this they become over possessive about their relation. Their over possessiveness and indecisiveness becomes a matter annoyance for others and make others angry. This anger triggers suspicion in them that their loved one will leave them or they don’t love them anymore, which makes them even more possessive and then a vicious circle starts which may lead to suicide. Person who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder indulge in deliberate self harming behaviour in order to attract attention of others. Burning and cutting thyself, swallowing poison and severe suicidal attempts are routine matters for them. Genetic as well as environmental factors like stress, emotional insecurity, childhood exploitation, trauma etc. are responsible for the onset these disorders.

             These are some possible causes behind suicide of women in Mumbai, however I don’t claim that only these reasons exist behind their suicide. There might be other reasons which I haven’t mentioned here. The truth will come out only after thorough investigation. 


  1. Pretty good in depth analysis. I have to say that from my own experiences that most of the time it is the Educated people who are more conservative than uneducated people. Education isn't really making the difference it is expected to on Indian psyche.

  2. Yes Amit I totally agree with you and same thing i wrote in my article on " Literacy is growing but there is no corresponding growth of education". We desperately need change in our in education system.

  3. hey bhavin, that is a good article. taken many social and psychological aspects into consideration. precise and constructive, i give 20 out of 30. - rashmi


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