In a lot of cultures, izzat (honour) is a massive concept. Indo-Pak culture normally uses izzat as a useful emotional blackmail tool. Don’t do this or you ruin our family name etc.
It seems that we can’t escape the “honour” line even after marriage. My friend, newly married, agreed to live in an extended family situation. It was made clear to her before marriage that this would be the case – there were never any fairy-tales of moving out. Whilst she knew this, young age made sure she was too naive to understand the consequences of what it really meant.
Living within an extended family, one would think, allows you a degree of flexibility in visiting your own parents. You are afterall living with them 24hours a day, what’s a visit a few times a week to your family, siblings etc? My friend was shamed at a recent gathering by her MIL announcing to the guests what she thought to be acceptable parental visitation rights. “Daughters shouldn’t go over more than once a week she stated. It doesn’t keep our izzat if the girl keeps going to her parents”.
How in the name of all that’s holy is their izzat affected by a visit here or there to family members? Is it about ensuring that she won’t talk about the state of the MIL in the morning after one too many masala chai? Does going to her family home indicate that she’s not happy where she now lives?
As she sits there crying over the unfairness of it all, we are both well aware of the reason for her situation. Control. Unless she’s prepared to engage in a battle to take back her life, there’s really not much she can do about it. She will most likely become yet another obedient daughter in-law, moulded by our nemesis, izzat.