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MyStory "My husband threw a chair at me when I was pregnant"

My mother-in-law told me to abort my baby and continue with my job because they wanted the salary. I was forced to move out of my house.

In a country where domestic violence in all its forms- physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse and economic abuse- is rampant, a significant population of married women often find themselves at the receiving end.

One common question that often seems to arise out of such discussions is why women don't quit such abusive relationships. The answers are many and complex.

In India, marriages are still largely viewed through once-in-a-lifetime glass. You marry once, and you are expected to stick to your spouse throughout your life. Many women often cling to their relationships and husbands or even partners in the hope that a better day will come eventually.

The issue becomes further more complex if the couple has children, and victims of abuse may be unwilling to accept the possibility of splitting with their children. There is also a financial aspect to it. 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, and we bring to you a series of personal accounts of survivors of domestic violence who speak about their experiences and how they chose to react.

Meenakshi Raghavan's story* 

My husband threw a steel chair at me when I was pregnant. My mother-in-law told me to abort my baby and continue with my job because they wanted the salary. I was forced to move out of my house.

My husband filed for divorce. But I still want to save the marriage.

The abuse started with hurtful and sarcastic comments about my cooking and housekeeping skills.


We lived in the same house as my in-laws. They preferred buying food from outside or my mother-in-law would cook; I couldn't use the kitchen without being criticized. But I ignored it, thinking they are elders and I must not respond.

Women like me don't even realize that they are being harassed. We keep quiet thinking it will disturb our marriage if we tell the husband about it. We take verbal abuse from our in-laws day in and day out, refusing to discuss the subject with the husband out of fear that it will spoil the relationship.

I had an arranged marriage but it's not as if I didn't know my husband before we got married. We used to meet twice or thrice a week, go for movies, eat out; we really did have a good relationship.

I was working for a software company at the time of my engagement. But 2009 was when the recession hit and people were struggling to keep their jobs. My company told me that I had to take up an offer to go abroad if I wanted to continue working with them.

Since I was getting married in a few months' time, I had no option but to quit.

My husband assured me that this was not a problem at all. But I later realized that my unemployment was seen as a big minus on their side. After we got married, my in-laws would not let me do anything for my husband, not even serve him food.

They would talk to my co-sister every night over the Internet for about forty-five minutes. They used a laptop to talk, so they could have had the conversation anywhere in the house but they would always use our bedroom to do this.

One night, I was feeling unwell and wanted to sleep, so I asked my father-in-law if he could use the laptop somewhere else. He suddenly fell at my feet, as if to beg my forgiveness. He was 72 years old at that time, so you can imagine how horrified I was.


I was asked to leave the house immediately by my husband's family. It was 9.30 pm. Where could I go?


I called my father and told him there was a problem. He wanted me to leave and come home but I stayed back. My husband slept in his parents' room. I was in our room. It was a terrible night.

After this, my brother got me a job through his contacts and things got better. We started going out like we used to before we got married. But my in-laws were not happy about this.

I fell sick around this time, maybe because of the stress and was hospitalized for a week. My father-in-law took this as an opportunity to start making demands to my parents. He wrote them a letter saying my husband had taken a loan of Rs 10 lakhs and that they should repay this loan on his behalf.


My parents tried to hide this from me but I guessed what was going on. They forced me not to tell my husband. They said that things would become normal again.

I then found out that I was pregnant. Since I had to travel about 30-40 kms a day for work, my doctor advised me to quit the job and I did so. My husband was very happy about the pregnancy but not my in-laws. They wanted me to continue working for my salary.

My mother-in-law even told me to abort the baby.

They used to try and make me go up and down the stairs repeatedly, hoping that this would lead to an abortion. They continued to demand money from my parents.


My husband said nothing when they were openly rude to my parents. In between all this, I tried to normalize my relationship with my in-laws but they were never interested. They would try and poison my husband's ears against me.

Once, he threw a steel chair at me, not even thinking about the fact that I was pregnant. The same day, my father-in-law tried to hit me with a bottle filled with water. He used very abusive language against me and asked me to get out of the house.

It was raining at this time and my husband didn't say a thing. I once again called my dad and he asked me to go to a family friend's house nearby and that he would talk to my in-laws in the meantime.

I was away for two hours. When I came back, many of my husband's relatives were sitting there along with his parents. They told me that I had to leave the house. My biggest mistake was that I listened to those words. I shouldn't have listened to those words and that if I had stayed, I'd have somehow won back my husband.

He filed for divorce a few days later. 

But not before my father-in-law filed a police complaint against me, saying I had run away from home and that I had threatened to kill myself and so on.


I even got threatening emails from an anonymous person who wrote to me saying I must go back to my husband or that I'd lose everything, including my life!

My husband didn't even know when my son was born. He doesn't seem to be interested in seeing him. He has met him a few times through my efforts but that's it.

I used to tell my son about his father, show him his photographs, but I don't any more. I don't want to raise his hopes unnecessarily. 

I know that violence can never be justified. There is no excuse for it unless a person is of infirm mind. I know it's wrong.


But I'm contesting the divorce. I think we can still make amends, save the marriage somehow.

My parents, too, feel that I should get back with my husband. 

In our society, domestic violence is hardly ever discussed. When I spoke to my friends, they also said they had problems with their in-laws, the usual ones. I didn't realize my case was something more serious.

My father-in-law even hugged me and kissed me one night all of a sudden, whispering something suggestive in my ears, when I'd gone to the kitchen to get something. I've never told anyone about this. I still have feelings for my husband; we were married for less than six months. 

He promised me that he will never let me down and I believe him. I wanted to share my story because I think other women shouldn't go through what I'm going through.

I am a single parent today and I have to manage my son as well as my career because we need to live our lives somehow. If I'd made different choices, my life would have been different today.

Women should not keep quiet about what is happening to them. If they do, they lose their health and the days and years roll on with emptiness.

Source: thenewsminute

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