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The Wedding Was A Chance To Escape An Alcoholic Father. It Turned Out To Be Worse

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By Oxfam India:

For six years of my married life, I tried to surrender to social customs which demanded that I bear every insult heaped on me by my husband and in-laws. However, once I realized that I had the right to a violence free and happy life, there was no stopping me from challenging my oppressors.

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I hail from the village of Adhauda. In spite of being a good student, I was forced to give up school after grade 5 to look after two younger brothers. In 2008, I got married to Himel. For me, the wedding was a chance to escape the oppressive atmosphere at home where my alcoholic father often beat up my mother. Little did I know that I was falling into a worse trap!

The first shock came almost as soon as the wedding ceremony was over; Himel told me that I will not be accompanying him to Agra, where he worked. I had barely reconciled myself to this fact when my mother-in-law, Mansi, began taunting me for bringing very little dowry. The kitchen utensils, bed, jewellery and 7,000 rupees in cash that I had brought, were deemed unworthy. When my father-in-law tried to intervene, Mansi insinuated that he was doing so because he coveted his son’s wife.

The times when Himel visited home, he used to join his mother in beating me up. When I asked him ‘why’, he said it was simply because he no longer liked me. After two years of enduring violence, I made the first attempt to challenge it by reporting the matter in the local chowki. My husband and in-laws were summoned and Himel gave a written undertaking that he would either take me with him to his place of work or would stay with me in the village.

Yet, after a month of living with me, he returned to work. This time, I was not the one to give up and I asked the village panchayat to intervene in the matter. In the presence of village pradhans, my mother and in-laws, an agreement was once again made. And yet again, it was dishonoured.

I returned to my parents’ place and contacted the women’s helpline, through which I approached Vimarsh- an organization member of the Saajha Manch collective. After a Domestic Incident Report was filed, counsellors went to my husband’s place and he outright refused to accept me. In June 2013, when my father-in-law passed away, I made one last effort to reconcile with Himel. I went to offer my condolences believing that in that moment of sadness they would let bygones be bygones. In less than a month of my stay, they started abusing me again. My husband went as far as threatening to kill me.

In July 2013, I filed a case under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 demanding Rs 1 lakh as the total compensation and Rs 5,000 as monthly maintenance.

Despite lack of support from my father who had once suggested that suicide is a better option than legal recourse, I was determined not to return. I want to resume my education. Sometimes, hiding from my family, I read my brothers’ schoolbooks. The principal of the village school has asked me to return, but I shy away at the thought of sitting with much younger girls.

I am still recovering from the horrors of my marriage and I don’t have a clear thought about what I want to do now. The only thing I’m clear about is pursuing my legal case.

I need a clean slate to restart my life. I am determined to have it.

You must be to comment.
  1. Babar

    Women are more abusive than men, but the way they abuse varies. They bite, scratch, and throw objects, while many even choke and punch. Also, women are good at bad-mouthing, something I have also seen on this blog. Men being called ‘bastards’ is very common, not to mention other forms of verbal abuses which women take pride in, if a man dares to speak for his rights.

    Only women are human beings. Only women are supposed to have rights.

    1. Vanita

      Statistically speaking men treat women like shit! Look around you and will see what men do women! Do not be ignorant! For centuries women have been oppressed by men! It’s a woman’s right to stand up against ignorant men such as yourself from believing that men don’t do anything wrong when they mistreat women. Men have ALWAYS been far more abusive! Please do some research before you make a claim that women are! It is thoughts like yours that make change in this world so difficult. I sincerely hope your ego allows you see facts for what they are! Verbal abuse is bad I agree but men have not only verbally abused women they have murdered, burned, beaten, and raped women! How then can you say women are more abusive?!? You need a reality check!

    2. Babar

      Statistically speaking …..which statistics? Those provided by feminists?

    3. PlzzStopBeingAnIdiot

      See all the topics in youthkiawaaz. Whatever the topic is, Mr. Babar is always seen beating his own drum.

      If the writer is talking about women being raped or molested that doesn’t mean they are writing against men. There are other posts where violence against men is stated and condemned.

      We have to understand here that it is not about men v/s women. It is about supporting humanity.

      I personally find his comments very funny sometimes.

      Here are some links which can help you :

      http://lifehacker.com/how-to-stop-being-a-cynical-asshole-1537302138
      http://seanhamptoncole.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/how-to-stop-being-stupid-in-10-easy-steps/

  2. Karthik Dayalan

    You will Get It Sister .

  3. Vanita

    Do not give up on fighting! Yes it is horrible what happened to you but you are strong and you are being tested of your strength! do not be shy of younger girls in your class, this is your goal and your education and most of all your life! If are teased you must not let it get to you because nothing else matters! There are opportunities out there just have to seize them and make the most of it! Stay strong and fight fight fight! You will win this!

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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