IMAGE AGAINST TORTURE - Children of India

I have been physically assaulted by my in-laws so many times that I have lost count”, says adolescent Raghavi* from a village in Belagavi, India. Married at the age of twelve, Raghavi began facing abuse during the time of her first pregnancy. She was just 15 then.

“The first time my mother-in-law beat me was when I was carrying my first child. There were many times I was made to sleep outside the house”, says Raghavi tearfully.

When Raghavi looked to her husband for support, he would just tell her to adjust to the situation. Things got worse for Raghavi when she delivered a baby girl. For many rural communities in India, a girl child is still looked at as a burden.

 

Image against torcher

“It was horrible for me. Even my husband began to hurt me physically. I was being punished because I was the mother of a girl child. I thought that being a girl was nothing but a curse and I realised that the only way to come out of my turmoil was to give birth to a son”, she said.

Raghavi conceived once more, but the abuse didn’t stop as the family feared the birth of another girl child. In fact, her husband was so scared that he deserted her and re-married.

“My second child was a boy. But things didn’t turn out as I thought they would. I was in a hopeless state ”, she said.

Raghavi moved into her mother’s house and around the same time she was introduced to the IMAGE project. 

Working for the empowerment of married adolescent girls, IMAGE counselled Raghavi and gave her the confidence to file a case against her husband and in-laws. The case is in court and a verdict is yet to be announced but Raghavi still finds victory in her journey.

Working for the empowerment of married adolescent girls, IMAGE counselled Raghavi and gave her the confidence to file a case against her husband and in-laws. The case is in court and a verdict is yet to be announced but Raghavi still finds victory in her journey. 

There are many more like Raghavi who were married off as children and were tortured, physically and emotionally. It is a fact that girl brides are more likely to become victims of domestic violence, adolescent pregnancies and emotional turmoil. Our project IMAGE that works for the empowerment of child marriage victims comes across numerous stories involving mental and physical harassment of the child bride. IMAGE intervenes in the lives of these victims by empowering them to take legal action against the culprits and encouraging the victims to undertake counselling for emotional well-being.  

To celebrate the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (26th June), IMAGE ran a 10-day campaign ( #IMAGEagainstTorture) to share the unheard stories of the victims of Child marriage who went through physical and emotional torture. The campaign celebrated their journey towards empowerment while acknowledging their struggles. 

These child brides have come a long way in their fight against injustice and you shouldn’t miss the chance to know their stories. Click below to do so!

Raghavi’s story

Kavya’s story

By Vaishnavi Gupta, Communications Associate.

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