It is estimated that almost 8 million people are living in conditions of modern slavery in India (GSI 2018). The skewed sex ratio in some regions of India has fuelled the trafficking and selling of women and young girls as brides within India. Women are reportedly sold off into marriage by their families, sometimes at a young age, and end up enduring severe abuse, rape and exploitation by their husbands. It is also reported that women and girls from impoverished backgrounds have been lured by promises of marriage by younger men from urban areas, then forced into sex work once married.
Durgam was forced to marry at a young age. Within the marriage she was subjected to phsyical abuse from both her husband and mother-in-law.
I faced immense violence from my mother-in-law. She would encourage my husband to beat me up since it was two years since I was married and had not conceived. My husband did not have a conjugal relationship with me. He was having an affair with another woman. I could not share this with anyone, including my parents or my brother. I did not want to complicate matters for them. But I could not take the tension any longer. I went to my husband’s brother and told him the truth. I do not know how I gathered the courage to do so, but felt that he might help me. He called my husband and seemed to have given him a piece of his mind and even about the law on domestic violence. My husband is a changed person now. He takes good care of me. He takes me to the market, accompanies me to my mother’s house and I am no longer tense. I have irregular periods and he takes me to the doctor for treatment. I am so glad that I picked up the courage and asked my brother-in-law for help
Narrative provided by M Venkatarangaiya Foundation in their report ‘…and they never lived happily ever after. The battle for justice goes on: Voices of married girls in Telangana’