One of my readers grew up in Rajasthan and was disturbed by the conversations around Violence Against Women. She had grown up with crimes against women being a common fact of her world. Some of the stories she told me raised my hair. Here is an excerpt from one of her emails:
You can’t really describe the environment. Sometimes we feel that it happens often in rural areas but women are going through same in metros as well. Its just that they know how to hide it better. Its difficult to hide such things in villages. In fact they involve panchayat as well.
I’ve seen husband beating their woman brutally. Fathers burying girl child (not seen) but sure. One was young & going around with Neighbour from different caste. He buried her inside the house and other one buried a newly born daughter cause he already had 3 and [that same] same guy used to flirt with his daughter’s friends. Daughters stopped inventing them to their place.
Woman are usually scared. Be it dependent or independent women.
My cousin uncle got married when he was a kid (child marriage) he moved to city for education and realized that he didn’t want to marry that uneducated woman. She often used to come to our place along with her mother and beg in front of my uncle. It used to happen often but he simply refused. She jumped in the well. Uncle got married to an educated woman and a perfect girl but he didn’t tell her anything. She came to know about it after marriage.
I used to meet her often as I moved to their city and was in hostel. She was not allowed to go out of home alone. Many restrictions on her and my uncle was characterless. I’ve been molested by him as a kid. I grew up and he thought he had a chance. He asked me to come at his place once. I was suspicious and came to know later that my aunt was not at home. He used to come to my hostel to take me out. I could not refuse as he was my LG. He started touching me once and i started shouting and threatened him that I’ll tell his wife and kids if he ever repeated this behavior. He was so shameless that he asked me that he won’t do anything to me if I fix him up with one of my friend. He was good looking and young and my friend used to flirt with him. I started avoiding both later till I passed out.
For obvious reasons, she wants her identity kept secret. In other communication, she had shared about her own love marriage and her fear that she could actually be killed for it.
Another reader had told a story of a woman he knew committing suicide, because her family threatened to kill the man she was planning to marry. According to him, they [his distant uncle’s sons] later said wouldn’t actually have done it, would happily get her married rather than seeing her dead [which he thinks they wouldn’t say if she were alive], they were only trying to scare her. Well… it seems they succeeded. She believed it. Must have been conveyed very convincingly.
This is raw, hard hitting. A series around these stories that keep coming in from readers is due, but I wanted to share this snippet in the light of the recent Rajasthan High Court’s restrictions on Arya Samaj. Because with the court’s request for a six day notice, things become far more dangerous for the young people living in such situations.