Fatima met ‘him’, at one of her ‘Holy Quran’ study classes. Every day she would go to the class which was held next door, at her neighbour’s home. One evening, Fatima noticed a handsome young man, sitting quietly in a corner reading verses from the Hadith. She fell in love with him immediately. The man winked at her, signifying his own feelings. They started chatting afterwards. Two days passed by. Fatima was getting familiar with him. Suddenly, when no one was looking he forced himself upon her. Fatima’s innocent mind interpreted this as an act of love. She never thought she was being violated in the guise of love and affection. She complied, believing that they were destined to get married shortly…

A Few months later Fatima became pregnant. The news of their ‘immoral affair’ spread in the village like wildfire. They eventually summoned Fatima and her abuser in a meeting. Their unanimous verdict was to marry her off to him to avoid further shame. They urged the man to take responsibility for his actions by accepting Fatima’s unborn child upon marriage. Both of them touched the Holy Quran, swearing to tell the truth. However, much to her surprise, the man lied. He said that he had no such encounters with the girl. Fatima stood there thunderstruck. She could not believe that the man she once loved would stoop so low to save his own skin. The villagers, however, did not believe the man’s claims. Fatima exchanged vows of marriage with him while she carried their child in her belly.

Fatima’s domestic life was not peaceful. Her in-laws would bicker over the unwanted child who was to be born in their home. Feeling that her new home was not suitable for the birth of her child, Fatima’s parents took her back to home. They informed the in-laws that the girl would return after the birth of the child.

Six months passed by in a flash. However nothing was heard from the in-laws. It seemed they had forgotten all about Fatima. Eventually the villagers forced the in-laws to take her back. Upon reaching her husband’s home, Fatima realised that their love was just a lie. During her absence, her husband had married another woman who was also now carrying his child. Thus, abuses rained down upon the helpless girl and her baby. Merciless beatings and mental torture became a routine.Unable to bear this anymore, Fatima sought the help of the panchayat. Hearings were held and numerous sessions were arranged involving the two parties. Unfortunately, these meetings did not have any effect on her husband or the in-laws. Eventually, Fatima went to court and lodged a formal complaint against her husband. However, the man’s family started to hurl insults whenever she went out of the house. They continued to blame the girl for apparently ‘ruining’ their reputation.

Eventually, Fatima came to our office, the office of Goranbose Gram Bikash Kendra and told us her story. After listening to her story, our members reached her in-law’s home for investigation. We assured her that we would stay by her side in every possible manner.

The name ‘Fatima’ has been used here for the safety of the complainant. Like her, countless other women are fighting for justice against the violence and abuse experiences by them.

We must continue to fight side by side together against all forms of social evil in order to ensure a bright future for the next generation.

#tafteesh #BandhanmuktiSurvivorsCollective#GoraboseGramBilkendra

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