Kavitha decided to not marry Lohith as he was unemployed, and because she did not like what his neighbours had to say about his character.

Bluru man stabs woman for refusing marriage Lets stop romanticising jilted loversImage for representation
news Gender violence Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 16:03

It’s almost like a template: Man is interested in woman. Woman rejects man’s advances. Man decides that the best response is violence. And more often than not, the instance is dubbed as one involving a ‘jilted lover’ – never mind that these men are stalkers and abusers, not lovers.

In another such instance, a woman was seriously injured by a man in Bengaluru for refusing to marry him.

Mumbai-based Kavitha Agarwal, a 33-year-old single mother, came to Bengaluru on October 19 to meet 36-year-old Lohith, whom she got acquainted with on a matrimonial website after her husband’s death. But after meeting him, Kavitha decided to not marry him because Lohith was unemployed, and because she did not like what his neighbours had to say about his character.

When she was packing her bags to leave for Mumbai on November 4, an angry Lohith threatened to kill her. As Kavitha continued to pack, Lohith reportedly attacked her with a knife, and stabbed her in her right ear, the left side of her chin and on her left shoulder. Lohith’s mother intervened and took Kavitha to the Victoria Hospital in the city, where she is critical.

While a case has been registered against Lohith in the Vishveshwaraapuram station, this is not the first instance where a man has resorted to violence when faced with rejection.

And there is an inherent problem with how such incidents are reported in the media. We come across a number of headlines for instance, which talk about the perpetrators as ‘spurned’ or ‘jilted’ lovers. In reality, these are stalkers and harassers.

In April this year for instance, a man, Girish stabbed a woman, 24-year-old Shobha, in Bengaluru broad daylight. The reason was the same as in Kavitha’s case – Shobha had refused Girish’s marriage proposal. Girish allegedly stabbed Shobha in her stomach 7 times and even injured her grandmother when she tried to save Shobha.

The headline in this case, said ‘spurned man’, automatically placing the onus on the Shobha for having upset him. In reality however, Girish acted out of his sense of privilege which was challenged when a woman was refusing his advances.

Just two days ago, a 24-year-old man stabbed a 22-year-old woman in Visakhapatnam for refusing his proposal. The report here refers to him as ‘jilted lover’.

Yet another report refers to a man who morphed a 21-year-old woman’s photos and posted them from a fake social media account as a ‘jilted lover’. The woman, who was in Odisha, had turned down his marriage proposal. After he morphed her photos and posted them online, the woman committed suicide because of his actions.  

And here’s another such ‘jilted’ man from Nagpur who threatened to attack a 17-year-old with acid because she refused to take his love letter.

There are many more examples. The above three are merely from the last two days.

There are plenty of references in films as well, where men not taking no for an answer from their romantic interests, is not only shown as normal but also celebrated as perseverance.

TNM has written about the issue extensively. Writing about glorification of stalking and violence in Kollywood, Sowmya Rajendran gives the following examples:

“In Paayum Puli, Vishal plays the role of a cop who stalks and threatens a woman (Kajal Aggarwal) to fall in love with him and never for a moment are we supposed to think that this is anything but romantic. Or unlawful. Nanbenda, starring Udhayanidhi Stalin, is yet another stalker-lover movie which, as an added bonus, also teaches the audience how to find out if a woman checking into a hotel with a man is his wife or a sex worker. And oh, this film is U-rated. In 24, Suriya plays the role of a typical gas-lighter, playing games with the heroine’s mind, dressing her up to suit his tastes without her knowledge and so on. In Sethu, a critically acclaimed film that made Vikram’s career, the hero is a college goon of sorts who falls in love with a meek girl. When she rejects his advances, he kidnaps her and threatens to smash her head with a rock if she doesn’t accept his ‘love’.”

Examples normalising this type of dangerous and toxic masculinity are aplenty in pop culture and Indian media. But it's crucial to remember that the people who act this way in real life are not ‘jilted’ and definitely not ‘lovers’.

They are simply men who think there’s nothing wrong if their woman stays with them simply out of fear of the violence that will come their way if they speak their mind. 

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.