The Cost Of Not Caring
By Nusrat Jahan Progga
Do you want to know what is absolutely frustrating about a country where the number of brown bigots is on the rise? It is the fact that they take the terms “stay chill” a bit too seriously. A girl dies, some seemingly “intellectual” comments are posted, a few dozen essay statuses from budding activists pop up, and that’s about it. No major change in the country, no step taken by the government or any other powerful organization. But what’s so concerning about all this?
When the news of the suicide of model Sabira Hossain spread, everyone was up on their feet sharing their different opinions. One of the most prevalent one was “She did this to herself. She was a spoiled bad kid, she lived with a boy…no wonder all this happened to her”. What disappointed me was how the people failed to look beyond the picture of Sabira using her own hands to kill herself; they barely noticed all the other invisible hands lurking around the shadows- strangling her, slowly stripping her to the very last bit of happiness she had. We get it. Sabira should have been stronger; she should not have gone “astray”. However, how much pain can a human being handle by themselves?
We have to understand that it is not always for a person to be strong and take on everything on his or her own shoulders. Sometimes, they need a little help from friends- the help they often do not get. We tend to believe that if it were us, we would think of how sad our parents would be, and how “suicide is not the solution’.
However, let us put ourselves in the shoes of the victims for a bit: You are severely depressed. You are in an abusive relationship, but you are young and in love. The person you love the most has betrayed you, took advantage of you, and is treating you no better than a used up tissue paper with shit and snot all over it. You want to leave but you cannot. So, you turn to someone hoping that they will listen. What happens? Here in Bangladesh, no one has ever heard of “abusive relationships”. Unless it is a husband beating a wife (a scenario that is still considered socially acceptable to a dangerously high number of people) no one cares.
“Heartbreaks are a part of teenage life”, “Boys will come and go”, “Just move on already”- these will most likely be the only “motivational” lines that are thrown at you. The amount of agony you are going through does not matter because society will shove pills called “just get over it” down your throat regardless.
We view fights, verbal abuse, and sometimes even physical abuse, as something very typical. In a lot of cases, even the dearest of friends will fail to show any actual initiative to take you out of an abusive relationship.
Of course, if no one else is there, you have your parents… or so you think. A friend of mine had suffered an abusive relationship for about two years which led her to become significantly disturbed both mentally and emotionally. However, she had no intention to die. She wanted to get better and get help. Hence, she requested her mother to take her to a doctor but her mother denied her request because of what “people might think”. Chances are the same will happen to you.
In the end, with the fear of judgment and neglect, you decide to bottle everything up. The mental pressure grows on you till you basically reach the brink of insanity. That is when you snap. That is when you cannot take it anymore. With nowhere to go, no way out, no actual help, you crumble under the weight of depression.
It is sad that people cannot see how suicide is not just the victim’s fault. How many more deaths will it take for us to actually start paying attention to people’s mental health? How many more teenagers have to go through severely abusive relationships, for society, as a whole, to understand the importance of proper health for the mentally scarred? The idea that Bangladesh might always remain that country where having emotions and expressing them might get you labeled as someone who belongs to the mental asylum scares me.
It is high time that we understand that being clinically depressed or having anxiety does not make you a psycho; it makes you human. What if that video Sabira posted was just her way of screaming for help? What if we missed our last chance to save her life because we were too busy wondering if she’s an “attention whore”, if she will be going to hell or heaven, and telling her to move on?
Having said all this, my question to you is- who is Sabira Hossain? A brat? A crazy person? An over-emotional teenager?
Think about it.
Think about it and tell me you do not believe that just a listening ear, a little care from her parents, a little less judgment from society could have saved hundreds of Sabiras from such terrible fate.
To me, Sabira Hossain was just a young girl stuck in a state where the concepts of modernism, religion, family, morality, societal position, and emotion clashes. She was beautiful young girl murdered by the society’s unwillingness to acknowledge her silent cries for help.