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Our Response to The Letter: My #Husband and His Family Tried to #Kill Me!

February 15, 2014
domestic violence is crime

The 50 Million Missing Campaign receives many emails from Indian women sharing their problems and asking for advice. Two days ago we received a letter from a young woman, which we found very distressing.   The story in this letter is not uncommon and we’ve heard it repeating in too many homes in India.  This is why we are publishing this letter (with names and details concealed) with our advice to this young woman and to all women in this situation.  Please listen to our advice!

Below is the letter we received from this young woman:

I don’t know what to say.  Right now I am seriously very upset and I am not able to think what to do.  What decision should I take now?  Today my brother-in-law and his wife both have tried to kill me and my husband has also helped them.  They have been continuously torturing me after my marriage.  My marriage happened on _/_/2012.   I don’t have idea that when I would be murdered.  I don’t have any body in my family who can help me.  My father is no more and my mother is not well.  I have two younger brothers.  They  have got frustrated after seeing the result of my marriage. I’m afraid of them that they will take decision to never marry anyone in their life.  I never want divorce because after that my life will be nothing.  But what to do now?  My father-in-law today he assured me, that it will never happened again in future.  Should I trust him and give a chance to my marriage? He also promised me that he will shift me in another house with my husband and he will be also with us.  In fact I requested him to be with us. Please advise.

This is our advice to this young woman and to all women in this situation:

Your husband and in-laws ganged up to murder you! This is a serious crime under the law for it is a pre-meditated crime.  If these were strangers or neighbors, would you trust those people again?  Would you go into their houses if they invited you?  You would not.   Because you would not trust them with your life.  So why would you gamble your safety and life with your husband and in-laws?  Your husband and in-laws are criminals under the law.  They should be in prison with other criminals.  Would you be willing to trust a man in prison who has attempted to murder someone? However hard the situation in your mother’s house is, it is your best option right now.  Your life and your safety is more important than your marriage.   A home and a marriage are supposed to provide safety and comfort.  But a house and marriage where you are abused and where attempts are made to kill you, is not a home and those people are not your family.  This place is worse than hell.   You worry about the impact on your younger brothers.  But by staying in this house and marriage, you are teaching them something worse.  You are telling your younger brothers, that they too can abuse and try to kill their wives.   By walking out, you will teach your brothers that they cannot treat their wives or any human being this way.  You will teach them that this is criminal behavior and you don’t want your brothers to grow up to be criminals like your husband and in-laws.  We advise to do 5 things immediately:

1) Make safety and the protection of your life your number 1 priority

2) Pack a few important things and leave your husband’s house quietly and quickly, without telling anyone,  and go to your mother’s house.

3) You will be under pressure from your relatives, neighbors etc. to return to your husband’s house.  Do not TALK to or listen to anyone.

4) Your husband and in-laws will try to get you to return because they will not want you to file a police report.  Do not Talk or Listen to them.  Do not have any contact with them.

4) File an FIR (police report) against your husband and in-laws immediately, naming them all, and registering all the details, with the date, time etc. of the attempted murder and the torture that preceded it.

5) Stabilize your life, find comfort and love from your mother and brothers, and when you are strong enough file for a divorce.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2014 3:00 pm

    Reblogged this on Karma Life Readings and commented:
    Men seem so afraid of the Great Power of a Woman, and so, all over the world, those men try to snuff out, stamp out any power a woman might have . . . their sole intent is to enslave and disempower.

  2. Roger Hughes permalink
    February 15, 2014 4:20 pm

    I thought that your response was excellent. However, this poor lass needs support to boost her morale, which I do not know that a letter of advice from a distance, even a solicited letter of sound advice as you sent, can do. Where in the community can women in such dire situations turn? It is all very sad.

    • February 18, 2014 12:40 pm

      Roger, We’ve dealt with cases in the campaign where even when women were educated, and earning, or we’ve made safe arrangements for them their concern seemed to be “saving the marriage.” In cases where even their little girls were in danger, for we find that these are the families that don’t want daughters, and these are the homes where girls born to these women are most in danger. But even when their daughters were in danger, we’ve had educated, professional women arguing that “girls still need their father in this society” or they will have no standing! In fact in one case where we struggled to hold back a woman whose in-laws had made numerous attempts to kill her 2-year-old daughter, the woman went to the in-laws and gave the names of all the female volunteers of our campaign who were working on the case, and essentially threatened to harm us if we attempted to prevent her from returning. The police is no help. And there is no law where we can intervene to save children in danger when their mothers are incapable of making the right decision for them. So we had to let it go! How do we get around this?

    • Roger Hughes permalink
      February 25, 2014 6:09 pm

      Thank you for your response to my above comment. Sorry, I did not choose my words carefully in using the word ‘poor’. I meant ‘unfortunate’. From your own writing, I realise that those with the most financial stress, those in the gravest poverty, have a better gender balance, and therefore have suffered fewer gender based murders, than those with less financial stress. As I have understood your comments elsewhere, the women in these more financially stressed situations might have many social pressures operating against them but at least they do not have this scourge. As the lass at the centre of this discussion wrote in reasonable English, I supposed that she came from the elevated classes. Domestic violence in Australian society, like Indian society, knows nothing of class or financial standing. A recent quantitative report, which I recently sent off-line to you, suggested that India and Pakistan treated their women folk equally shockingly, far worse than Bangladesh, although Bangladesh was certainly not good, just better.

      I have seen in India, and to a lesser extent in Bangladesh, how a child without a father, either because the father died, the mother walked out with the child or the father walked out without the child, is considered an orphan and the difficulties that this consideration creates. This consideration makes difficulties both for the mother and the child as you have noted. (I know from PIA and visits that many of the girls at your ABWU orphanage still have mothers, and I have seen how their mothers seem to drift in and out of their lives, although in these situations it is often because of financial pressure). As you would agree, a complete change of social attitude(s) is needed, but which social attitudes? I wonder how a child on loosing a father, but still with a mother, can be made not to be thought of as an orphan with all the social stigma that goes with it? From what you have written this attitude seems to at the core of why many women do not leave abusive relationships. It seems to be a distant throw back to pre-1830 and suttee! Do you think that if daughters were to receive an equal inheritance, rather than either being ignored or given an inheritance that is only a half of a son’s inheritance, that it might make the difference? I would really like to know your thoughts, Rita. It has puzzled me and equal inheritance has its own problems of land division even though not holding juxtaposed land is not a problem, and possibly a nutritional advantage, on un-mechanised farms.

      One last question, you have said that you often cannot gain access to the abused and troubled wife, and that she often has nowhere to turn other than to her tormentors. Even the police are uncooperative. Do you think that the inclusion of women police officers at a local level would help? Unfortunately, it is always difficult to make such social changes in the absence of a socially perceived emergency, but it does not stop thinking about what is needed.

      Roger Hughes.

  3. Rees Gallacher permalink
    February 15, 2014 4:54 pm

    It seems to me that women who divorce in India are shamed and shunned in society in the same way as they used to be in western countries. The situation gradually changed and divorce is no longer a great shame (although there are sometimes feelings of guilt left over – could I have done more to save my marriage? How much of it was my fault? Even when the man is quite clearly abusive and adulterous!). And, of course, women are clearly under great risk of physical and mental abuse as divorcees.

    Hold your heads up. Walk into a room with your head up and your eyes straight. Don’t shuffle in apologetically, It’s a small thing, but it’s the start of your own self respect, and if you respect yourself, others will start to do so too.

    And other women, don’t say or think mean things like “Who does she think she is/needs to be taken down a peg or two/ and all the other cruel and unworthy things you’ve been taught to think about someone in that situation – it could have been, or might be you some day. Support her, nurture her and bring her into society where she belongs and some day someone might do that for you….

    I have spent years working with young people in similar situations, hopefully helping them to value themselves and raising their expectations of the way others treat them, I can’t imagine the time scale involved in bringing divorcees into mainstream society and culture in India, because we did have a bit of a head start, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and sometimes small things grow…

    • sahitha permalink
      April 28, 2014 1:43 pm

      Hi Rees, I agree that what happened in the West in the 60s and 70s is slowly gaining foothold in India. Hopefully soon, divorce will not be considered a stigma (in many circles it already is not because of a large number of girls who have chosen to divorce in the last decade) but I would agree there’s still regressive attitudes about women. However, I also see a change on the horizon.

  4. February 16, 2014 2:03 am

    Reblogged this on Flip It Right Side Up.

  5. February 18, 2014 3:06 pm

    Reblogged this on REVOLUTIONS IN MY SPACE: A BLOG BY RITA BANERJI and commented:

    I’m often told there is domestic violence in the west too. Yes, there is. But the difference is, that in India it is not one man beating up on a woman. It is almost always gang violence that is pre-meditated. And secondly, where families and friends in the west urge women to get out to safety, in India there is inordinate pressure from family and society on women to remain in the marriage even if they are financially able to get out, because the marriage is viewed as more important than the women’s safety and life! This letter is not uncommon of most cases of dowry violence and murder in India.

    • sahitha permalink
      April 28, 2014 1:50 pm

      It is so true, I am an Indian who was married off to a well-educated doctor in the West and I chose not to put up with the abuse. I divorced him, made myself free and I don’t think I would have been able to do that if it were in India because of the factors you have already mentioned. I told “friends” and “family” to stay out of my business very firmly and the whole thing only worked because people in the West supported me and commended me for being brave. I chose to stay there for quite some time because I did not think I could face the music here. Now that I have picked myself up, I have returned to India and no one bothers me except the “family”. Other people are actually more understanding than so-called “family”. I wonder if I should even call them that, hence the quotations. I do not let them talk non-sense to me, so they get passive-aggressive and talk behind my back. Hell with such people, nobody needs “family” like that.

  6. February 19, 2014 12:42 pm

    Thats what i call as: Letting go societal boundaries and not choosing to put your own happiness on the tip of nail
    Read: wp.me/p42IWQ-9

  7. Jesus Girl permalink
    February 24, 2014 12:47 pm

    That was a great answer …It is Good to run away from murderer he is not your husband he is Devil in human being, i think he eat Bullshit everyday that’s why he can act in such a way!!! it is a crime you need to make a police report what a shit was this all India are corrupted God please save my people and help this innocent women i plead at you!!!

  8. Pooja Jindal permalink
    March 3, 2014 2:26 pm

    One point I want to add is that the marriage is only a part of life. It is not the only thing to do in life. So it is not right to say that what is life without marriage.

    • March 7, 2014 11:46 am

      I agree. But women, specially in India are conditioned to think that if they are not married, or if they are divorced they have no value. They constantly hear that once a woman is married only her arthi (dead body) can leave her husband’s house. We need to reverse this psychological conditioning in women. And it terrifies me how literally so many, educated, working Indian women take that!

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  1. Unsere Antwort auf den Brief: „Mein #Ehemann und seine Familie haben versucht, mich zu töten!“ | The 50 Million Missing Campaign: "50 Millionen verschwunden"

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