“A House Where a Woman is Not Safe Is Not a Home” – Case Study of a Survivor of Domestic Abuse
The Centre for Social Research (CSR) manages Crisis Intervention Centres in Uttam Nagar and Vasant Kunj, Delhi. We receive cases of domestic violence and marital discord. We not only counsel the victims but also assist them in their legal procedures for justice. Here is the case study of a woman, who having gone through significant abuse and struggle in her married life, came to us to seek redressal.
Mahima was a 22 year old student B.A. student who wanted to study further, but because of an alcoholic and abusive father, she got married to Suresh in 2016, who was working in the tourism industry. He was well read, educated and had also been a youth leader in Delhi University during his day as a college student; and he promised her that he would let her finish her graduation.
Within eight months of marriage, she started to face trouble in her married life. She said that her mother in law and sister in law troubled her and abused her verbally and physically, and that her husband failed to support her, or speak in her favour. Her in-laws taunted her for not bringing dowry, and one day her mother in law removed Mahima’s saree- an act which was video recorded by her sister in law.
Her mother in law threatened her that she will make the video public and upload it on the internet, which is when Mahima contacted the police. While the police assured her justice, Mahima retracted her statement as she didn’t want bad name to come to the family. She gave them another chance, but when things didn’t change at all, she asked her parents to intervene, and went to their house. On one of the festivals, her mother in law called her and asked her to come back that day itself, else stay in her parental home forever. Mahima asked her to send Suresh to get her, but when he didn’t come, she went back to her marital home.
Soon she became pregnant, after which the abuse continued. Her mother in law questioned the parentage of the child, and stopped Mahima from making her own food. She also told all family members to not give her anything to eat. During her pregnancy, the abuse and torture continued, and that is when Mahima went back to her parental home. When her condition got critical due to her pregnancy, she spoke to her husband about coming to see her, who replied saying his mother didn’t permit him to do so. Her sister in law gave the same response.
When she was admitted to the hospital, Suresh and her in laws visited her and started fighting and abusing her in the hospital itself. Soon, she miscarried the child. Even then, her husband and his family continued their indifference and mental abuse, and refused to listen to her. Her husband didn’t come to see her in the hospital, and cast aspersions on her character.
Centre for Social Research intervened into the matter, and asked both the parties to come for counselling sessions. Together, they drafted out the terms and condition, and multiple counselling sessions, both parties have come to some mutual agreement, and now Mahima has started to live in her marital home with her husband.