“I don’t remember much about my wedding. All I know is that it happened. It was at my older sister’s wedding that my father decided I should also be married off. Even after my sister told him that the man I was to marry was bad tempered, he forced me to get married to him.
Once I went to my husband’s house, the abuse began. He hit for everything. If I asked for new clothes, he hit me. If I attended a wedding in the village, he hit me. He hit me with sticks like people hit animals. When I couldn’t take it, I used to run away to my uncle or aunt’s homes in the neighbouring villages. They listened and felt bad, but didn’t want to help me. My husband would come and pick me up with the promise that he would change. But he didn’t. No one was ready to help me. So I had to stay back with him.
Then I gave birth to my first child, my daughter. He didn’t give me any food. He said, “This is who you gave birth to. Eat her only.” I laid there in hunger and with thirst.
My second child is also a girl. Again, I wasn’t given any food. I couldn’t tell my parents anything because they are poor.
My third child was finally a boy. When I delivered my son, my husband let me eat bajra for dinner. I wanted to get operated to stop having more kids. But my husband didn’t let me go ahead with it. He dragged me back from the hospital saying we need another son. But we didn’t have another boy. I was forced to undergo four more pregnancies. All are girls. And after every delivery, it was the same story. No food or water or care. My body and mind were shattered after all this.
He treated me worse than an animal. He made work as per his wish. One day I was farming, another day I was working at the brick kiln, some other day I was taken to Delhi for manual labour. And he took all my salary. I didn’t get a single day rest.
Anytime I spoke back, he used to hit me with sticks. But I stayed with him. I stayed for the fear of society. And my responsibility to uphold my dad’s honour. I don’t blame my father for what happened. I think it is just my fate.
I got all my children married with my money. Then my husband felt I was of no use to him and wanted to divorce me. He used to me every time he saw me in front of his eyes. I went to live with my son in Delhi, but he also refused to see me. He left with with my sister and said he will send money. He gave me a fan and a room. But within few hours, all of that was taken away from me. For one year I am living in the dark and without a fan in Delhi’s heat. Then he accused me of being a prostitute. I am 63 years old. I am his mother. This is how he speaks to me. All my children favour their father because he has the money and property. I don’t have anything.
I finally had enough and lodged a case against my son and husband. The court told them to pay me money for living expenses. But they are not paying. My case is going on in the court. Next hearing is on 15th December. Jagori is helping me with the case.
After all these years, and so much pain, I don’t know what to do. Where should I go? Who will give me work at this age? All I need is a room to sleep in and food to eat..”
Jagori is an NGO working for women’s rights in Delhi. They have come forward to help the victim with her case.
This story was submitted as part of the #BlackBindi Campaign, an initiative by MY FM with The Logical Indian to raise awareness about Domestic Violence. If you are a survivor of domestic violence, write to us at [email protected]