Domestic Violence: Shabnam Excelled in Studies, Banished her Sufferings

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Shabnam’s marriage doomed her. She was falsely implicated of an infectious disease by her in-laws, beaten by her husband, had to stay without food and medicine when pregnant and was cast away from her in-laws place time and again. A PVCHR initiative changed her life. She is no longer the broken, dejected and despondent mother of two, looking for sympathy. She excelled in her intermediate exams and is on the way to realise her dream of becoming a nurse. She is self-reliant. Here’s a report about the struggle and success of a domestic violence victim for Different Truths by Shirin.

Against all odds, Shabnam, a resident of Chaklal Mohammad, Naini, Allahabad, cleared the 10 + 2 (Intermediate) with 82.8% aggregate marks. She achieved highest marks in three subject Physics (95), Chemistry (85) and Biology (88), in her collegiate.

She came out of her deep grief to shine like a rare gem despite being a victim of domestic violence. Shabnam surmounted her pain. She measured the sky with a broken wing and a dauntless spirit. She’s an inspiration for countless hapless women.

She got married in March 26, 2009, with Walid, son of Kasim Ali, resident of village Anti ka Purwa, Antu, in Pratapgarh district.

Shabnam faced torture and persecution from her in-laws day after day under the pretext of an imaginary dangerous infectious disease. They pressurised and forced her to go back to her parent’s home.

Her parents were deeply hurt. Shabnam’s father, along with few other people, went to her in-laws house to talk about her. Her in-laws family said that they would accept Shabnam in only one condition, if and when she was totally healthy. In the presence of her in-laws she was again diagnosed in Kriti diagnostic Center, Allahabad. The report shows she was normal.

“I became very angry when my in-laws asked what is meaning of ‘normal’. During that time I was in utter agony that they wanted to prove that I was ill forcibly,” she rued.

Shabnam’s in-laws took her back to Pratapgarh. Then she went to Lucknow, where she spent five months with her husband and got pregnant.

“After five months they sent me back to my parent’s house, once again. I, with a heavy heart, hiding my tear and grief returned to my parent’s house. Several time I tried to contact my husband but he had changed his mobile number. I waited for my husband to call me for several months. I was in utter confusion about what to do. In Asha hospital, I delivered Aadil.

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Everyone in the family was happy with his birth. We came to know that he had some congenital complications in his back. His operation was urgently needed, otherwise the poison would spread all over his infant body. Anyhow, my family managed the expense of his operation,” she informed.

In 2011, Shabnam was again called by her in-laws during the marriage of her sister-in-law law. In the marriage ceremony Shabnam husband did not come and his in-laws sent her to Kullu, where her husband was living.

She said, “I was happy that God listened my prayer. I happily started to do the packing. I began my life afresh with him, there. For two or three days, he behaved very well with me. But, again he started to beat and abuse me. He did not care about my child. He yearned for a chocolate but was scolded or thrashed instead.”

Shabnam added that her woes did not end. It worsened. “During that time again I got pregnant. After hearing this my husband wanted me to abort the child. When I denied, he started beating me. With great difficulty, I saved my unborn child. During that time, I did not get proper food or medicine. I became very weak. I along with my neighbour once visited a hospital. The doctor diagnosed me as anaemic. I did tell him anything, as he did not care for me or my plight. On March 2012, he dumped me at Pratapgarh, at my in-laws place, with the excuse of too much expense, though I had no proper food or medicines. After 15 days, I returned back to my parents’ home. On October 20, my younger son Zia-ul- Haq was born, in a nursing home in Allahabad.”

Shabnam tried to contact her husband but she got no response from him. She was in a hopeless state. She did not want to become burden on her parents’ family. She was a mother of two small children. Their expenses were an added burden to her.

Meanwhile, perhaps fortunately, Shabnam’s father came in contact with Farhat Shaba Khanam, who is representing PVCHR, in Allahabad district. She provided psychosocial support through testimonial therapy to Shabnam. On the basis of her testimony, Shabnam filed complaint on August 6, 2012, under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Several summon were served but every time her in-laws reported that Shabnam’s husband was missing.

Farhat motivated Shabnam and her father for the educating and making her self-reliant. She got admission in nearby school and completed her high school. All the expenses were borne by her father. He is the retired military officer.

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Shabnam, with a tear of happiness, confessed, “After my wedding, my world changed for worse. There was darkness all around. Dejected and despondent, I was broken. I didn’t know that I would be facing difficult times. Both my sons came at a time when I was at the lowest ebb of life. But, now I am self-reliant. I have my own dream and I will give proper love and care to both my sons. I wish to bring them up as good men, who would value women and look after their families.”

Hers has been a difficult life, full of hardships, pain, insults and shame. She, with the help of PVCHR, has surmounted her difficulties.

Shabnam’s dream is to become nurse and serve the people. She’s the one, who has known deep pain. Perhaps life has prepared her to embalm the hurt, help cure people and reach out to them with deep compassion.

©Shirin Shabana Khan

Pix sourced by PVCHR

Shirin Shabana Khan is a professional social worker, graduated and post graduated in social work. She joined Peoples’ Vigilance committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)/Jan Mitra Nyas (JMN) in 2007 during the time when organization was transforming from activist to professional organization. She committed her life for the social cause after coming in close connection with the problem faced by the marginalized section in the society. Now she is program Director of the organization and leading the initiative “Healing and Empowering marginalized communities in India” with specific focus on creating torture free model villages.


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