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Trigger Warning: My Abusive Marriage

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Trigger warning: Graphic description of sexual assault, domestic abuse, dowry 

It was a fairytale wedding that took place on April 4, 2021. I met him through common friends and we chose each other. It wasn’t love at first sight- it wasn’t for me.

My family was looking for an alliance and his family too. He and his family pretended to be really nice people. I am a Bengali, highly qualified and simple girl from a middle-class family background. He had passed his 12th and had a history of being an addict and being into rehabs. I chose him instead of his flaws because everyone deserves a second chance.

His nature and behaviour impressed me and my family, so much that we chose not to go for any background check. I would be lying if I said that his lack of education and history of being an addict did not bother me. But I was convinced by his sweet gestures and actions towards me and my family. He ensured me that he was an addict once but for a very short period and that he was now a responsible man and had genuine plans to settle down. All lies!

A couple sitting, talking and watching the sunset
A couple sitting, talking and watching the sunset

I remember the first time I was humiliated by him in public.

It was on our engagement day when he touched me in a way that I was not okay with. Despite that, he kept touching me in front of the photographer and videographer. When I tried to make him understand in a polite way, it really spoiled his mood. Since it was my life’s best day and my birthday, I apologised to calm him down. Even though he was making me feel bad, I apologised.

 

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And then it happened for the second time.

The next time, he took me to a deserted place saying that he wanted to make me meet his friends as I was becoming part of his life. But he had lied. He started forcing himself on me in his car. I pushed him back saying it wasn’t right. And while he was trying to force himself upon me again, two cops saw us. They threatened us, and he, instead of apologising, kept arguing with them. I apologized because I did not want to get into trouble.

That day, he proved that he didn’t care about my safety and my respect. I took us out of that situation by paying a fine to the cops. And, my ex-husband had no repentance. He instead tried to tell me how it was okay since I would be his wife soon and that he had a right over me and my body.

Things kept happening and I thought to myself that maybe it was normal, because all the preparations had started and I could not take a step back. On our wedding day, he yelled at me in front of the photographers only because I was not walking with him but walking faster.

I felt insulted but I ignored that too. But he didn’t think anything was wrong with his behaviour.

Child marriage in India happening
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After the Vidai, when we reached my sasuraal (in-laws’ place), I was shocked to see that there weren’t any decorations – no flowers, no lights, nothing. What I did feel was a different kind of silence as if something was being hidden. I wasn’t welcomed with happy faces, everyone went to their rooms, some made faces.

His was a joint family of 12 members including three kids. In his room, his mother, him and me slept together that night in the same bed. That is how things remained for four months and I thought it was okay.

But it was on April 6, 2021, when he first raised his hand on me because I tried to wake him up early. Yes, for THAT reason, he thought it was okay to hit his wife and shout at her. His violent behaviour kept increasing day by day. He would hold me so tightly in anger, pull my hair, drag me down from the bed to the floor, shout, kick me, and do everything to hurt me. He would not let me cry, and if I did, he would become more aggressive.

Very soon, I started becoming aware that my family and I were cheated. He had no business of his own, and he had been unemployed for a very long period. His family or him also never shared and confided in us that he was going through a mental health illness. Not just that, he also had criminal records and was very actively involved in drug dealing. The man I was living with was actually not the man I had met on the first day.

On the other hand, I would constantly be told how I got nothing from my parent’s house. They took all my jewellery on April 5, 2021, saying that I will not be able to keep them safe. All the cash envelopes were taken away and other gifts from his family relatives were not even shown to me. There were times when my husband would physically abuse me, punch me on my face but all his family members remained silent saying “ye sab toh hota rehta hai” (this happens all the time).

 

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On August 15, my husband got angry for no reason and he kept punching on my face. Forgetting that I was on my period, he kicked me on my back and below my stomach and I somehow just managed to come downstairs for help. Instead of scolding him or talking to him regarding his behaviour, my in-laws told him to leave the house with his car. I wanted to go for a medical checkup but they did not let me. I tried to call 100 but they took away my phone.

I told them I needed to go to the police station and meet my parents. They manipulated the situation and accompanied me to the police station and then dropped me at my parent’s place.

A week went by and I got no call from my husband. His phone was switched off.

The man I was living with was actually not the man I had met on the first day. Representational image.

In between, I got to know that he had come home and he was given some money and was advised to stay away from home till everything settles down. I did file a complaint against him before coming to my house. I was even misguided by the police that since there’s no visible cut or injury, so medical examination can’t be done. It happened because my in-laws had already had words with the police before I could speak to them directly.

After a week,  my husband contacted me and said he wanted to stay with me and I was convinced again. I wanted to give it another chance and save my marriage anyhow. But to my shock, we were not allowed to enter my in-laws’ house anymore. And later on, I realised that they wanted us to stay at my parent’s house and for them to take responsibility. I also got to know he had been under a long treatment for mental illnesses like depression, Bipolar Disorder and more.

These were not disclosed by his family. That reminded me there were times when he would try to burn me with cigarette buds or light the cigarette lighter to scare me, hit me with heavy bottles and laugh saying that he was just playing around. He would watch porn and experiment with things on me. He would just cover my mouth and that pain, it’s inexpressible. I hated everything.

 

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I am glad that I gave chances and got clear about so many things. I went through a lot of mental abuse, physical abuse, humiliation in public and in private, got used as a sex machine and never received any respect which a partner deserves. I did not even know that I was going through domestic abuse. I did not know where to go, whom to talk to, how to tell people what I was going through.

But, one day I felt that it was time to walk away from this toxic environment. I wish no woman goes through this, but I know many are still going through it. I understand that it’s not easy for everyone. Dowry is still practised and identifying domestic abuse is not easy (because of less knowledge and information about the types of abuses) and many women stay silent because they think it’s okay to adjust. Let me tell you all, it is not OKAY.

Please have the courage and strength to come out and talk about it. You don’t have to be ashamed of it.

Domestic Violence Helpline: 1800 212 9131
Swayam: 91 98307 72814
Aks Foundation: +91 8793 088 814
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