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Run Away Girls: Eloping

Feeling of unfair treatment, hostile behaviour of males (father, husband, brother or even son in few cases), media influence, clubbed with some expectation of shelter other than home, are trigger points for girls/women to leave their families and homes. Young girls may get this feeling of support from their lovers. And women may seek for some welfare trust. We do not have many shelters for these ‘runaway girls’. This is because society does not like it.

Since ages, woman has been considered as center of family, who stays responsible of breeding child and male contributes to physically challenging tasks. Having male’s nature to get easily attracted towards women; societies with time evolved mechanism of women protection. These walls of protection grew with time and made women isolated. Women for their protection happily closed their eyes from world and lived in protection of their males. From different stages of life, they stay covered by brother, father, husband and son. Males being overseers became cautious of their women and relationship-oriented societies defined respect of males, scaled by extent to which they can protect their women. Males stay very watchful of their females to maintain their ego and respect. This leveraged male-authority by society has started bothering modern world females. Strong cultural influence from stories, movies and dramas has served as added fuel to this burning issue.

Males too have forgotten primary reason about getting authority, and this authority is often misused. They become dictators, and this dictation causes immense frustration on the part of modern women. These ladies daily observe other women on media, well-dressed and good-looking, towards whom men get attracted. This grass which is immensely greener at other side frustrates them even more. In such societies exists two types of males. One, even more. In such societies exists two types of males. One, who dictate and snub them from being modern, so to avoid any possible external attraction. Second, try to expose their women to others as symbol of their success. Both extremes irritate women, why? Because they are human too, and wish to have freedom. But these puzzled women, irritated from double standard male dominant society, either live unhappy life or decide to revolt. These revolting women are also seen as heroic figure by many, and also serve as motivation for others to run away.

There exists wide range of reasons explained by runaway girls. But two most strong variables are, 1. Stressed life at home, 2. Willingness to get married with their choice. Unlike those who run to get married, women running away from their family have no one to support. This is why, it is less likely for women to runaway due to family pressure only. Usually it is a mix: some promise of external support, topped by friction in family results in such kind of decision. Runaway girls plan and seek for immediate support to avoid any harm from jungle of humans. This support can be some welfare trust or some male, with whom they wish to be wedded.

These ladies daily observe other women on media, well-dressed and good looking, towards whom men get attracted. This grass which is immensely greener at other side frustrates them even more.
These ‘runaway girls’  especially young ones, leave their homes overwhelmed with dreams of romantic future. They break all laws, in order to attain freedom. Let us try to understand the essence of freedom. Freedom means state of being free; scope of freedom is very broad, and cannot be defined with help of few words. Freedom is often contrasted with confinement. To understand about freedom, consider term freedom fighter who is often accused to be traitor, rebel or terrorist by opposing party. Freedom fighter or terrorist, both tags belong to same person. Both statements are true; only point of view makes them different. This difference of thinking pattern can be observed in all walks of life. It can also be observed that usually stronger group or individual, successfully attain shelter of sanity, and weaker gets the negative tag. As we observed in example of freedom fighter & terrorist, same can be said for ‘runaway girls & refugee girls’.
Society tags runaway girls and the girls asking for freedom, negatively. If observed carefully this freedom always remains within some limits; for example. We live in sovereign nation, which has attained freedom, yet we have to abide by law. Teenage craze may ask this question, ‘If it is in some bonds, then what kind of freedom is it?’ Limits are defined purposefully so freedom should not come at price of other’s freedom. Plus, freedom is often in hands of controlling group; i.e. parents or guardians. Children are given freedom to certain limits, otherwise they may harm themselves. And children feel that parents are being over-dominant. At larger scale, limits are defined by society’s expectations known as ‘Socially desired behaviours’. This is driven from either majority or influential portion of society. Here Minority or weaker group may feel irritated or being dominated. In case of gender, females are left with less recognition and men have more authority. Especially is the case in ‘relationship-oriented society’ or eastern portion of world.
This feeling of unfair treatment is resulting in heavy resentment among modern women and girls. Media serves as fuel for their flaring aggression. Feeling of unfair treatment, hostile behaviour of males (father, husband, brother or even son, in few cases), media influence, clubbed with some expectation of shelter other than home, are trigger points for girls/women to leave their families and homes. Young girls may get this feeling of support from their lover. And women may seek for some welfare trust. We do not have many shelters for these ‘runaway girls’. This is because society does not like it.

Young girls, usually feel strongly convinced from ‘self-defined freedom’. And they get easily influenced from media too. Media, in order to attain higher viewership often dramatize and overproject. This may be understood by aged audience. For youngsters, it becomes flashy dream. When these young girls try to imitate their learning from media, which very quickly becomes a social trend, they get strictly snubbed by controlling group. This causes them to be further flared up.

Girls need to understand our society, value relations over subjective outcome. And these social expectations drive our lives. Going away from norm is not bad but for total revolt one has to pay a heavy price. Young boys also get influenced from media, and may make hollow promises. After getting uncovered from shelter of family, comes huge sense of insecurity. It might be safe passage that you daily take, but you will find yourself extremely challenged.

Please understand that everyone is not like lucky ‘Rapunzel’ in fairy tale. After running away starts the real story. These runaway girls, in pursuit of their self-defined freedom, forget many aspects. First of all, they live in relationship-oriented society which cannot be like individualistic societies or like west. Once they run away, they realize that finances turn low before they think. If their lover relinquish at the eleventh hour, it is near to impossible for them to get married or live in a respectable family. Not only they but their siblings too will be challenged at time of getting married. Society will tag their family as “disloyal”. Their family suffers from trauma, and few members may think of committing suicide. Last but definitely not least is extreme, when even modern and educated male members of family may attempt to kill their own daughter/sister. This hostility of men, women might fail to comprehend, before they run away.

So far we have been discussing the social side; living in the same society, professional life may face challenges too. No matter how many times organizations advertise ‘Equal Opportunity Employer’ but hiring manager definitely is part of relationship-oriented society. Organizations consider such girls as disloyal and doubt their un-biased working, though there exist few exceptions. At worst, such women are considered as public property: every wicked man attempts to abuse them. Few reports say that most runaway girls in Iran get raped within 24 hours of their departure. In our society too, majority of runaway girls end up spending their whole life imprisoned in some orphan home, trust or brothel.

Girls considering to ‘Runaway’ from their families shall consider these repercussions, which are often overlooked in overoverwhelming emotions. Young boys too make unrealistic commitments in blends of emotions and latter fail to support girls who runaway for them. Running away price is often higher than one can comprehend. Though complete blame can never be given to girls, families shall not levy un-due strictness on girls. We all shall understand that limits are defined by society, we may or may not like these limits, but we can only raise our voice when we attain right position. When we are in some position of strength; being young and weak, running away is not an option. It will only bring bad name to ‘runaway’, family and destruction to her life.

Unless it gets to threat for your life; or too serious, that you agree to pay price of being ‘Runaway’. Only then take such serious decision. Otherwise families shall understand and live collaboratively.

 

By: Prof Ayesha Kashif

 

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