TW: Domestic violence
By Jyoti Jangir
We often see people ask why victims of violence continue to stay with their abusers despite the harm that is being inflicted upon them. There could be many reasons for it – Payal’s story highlights some key reasons that make it hard for young women to leave their abusers.
Payal is a victim of commercial sexual exploitation, with whom the Prerana team had been following up till she exited the juvenile justice system. She was forced into the sex trade by her mother, and after her rescue was placed in a child care institution by the Child Welfare Committee for her care and protection. After she turned 18, Payal got married to someone she fell in love with. While she had exited the juvenile justice system, the team at Prerana had informed her that she could reach out to them if she ever needed assistance.
In January 2020, a social worker received a call from Payal. She had recently given birth to a girl child and shared that she was not happy with her partner. Her husband would often hit her. She added that he would often get insecure if she interacted with any other man. The social worker asked Payal if she needed assistance in getting out of the abusive situation. However, Payal was not quite sure about what she wanted.
Payal had stayed in a child care institution for a few years, and in an aftercare facility for a brief period before getting married. After she got married, her husband would take care of the expenses, and provisions for the home. Payal had little idea about being independent, or even knowing how to travel alone. She was quite afraid to leave her husband as she was unsure if she would be able to manage on her own. She was also worried about how she would be able to care for her child, who was only a few months old. She was staying with her husband for the sake of her child’s well-being.
The social worker spoke with Payal and helped her understand how they could place her in a Group Home, and link her with job opportunities. She was reluctant but eventually, she agreed after knowing that she could also take her child along. Many times, victims tend to not move out as they fear for their child’s well-being. Payal’s story is indicative of how many times victims of violence want to leave their abuser but due to a lack of financial support, shelter support they are unable to do so.
This post is a part of Prerana’s campaign under 16 days of Activism. It was first published in Prerana’s online resource centre. To know more about human trafficking and issues of child protection in India, read here.