“I want to live peacefully with my family” said Mina (name changed) who was in tears. Mina had been tired of the violence she and her children had been subject to at the hands of her husband. The children do not go to school anymore and their father had stopped spending money for their day to day needs, in spite of living under the same roof.
It was not the same when Mina got married thirteen years ago; they had two healthy children and lived a happy family. Her husband earned enough as truck driver to feed his family and meet their needs. They lived in Abusaid village in Ajnala, Punjab. It all started, when he brought a woman home claiming her to be a distant relative who had to undergo treatment at a nearby hospital. Unaware of the menace, Mina welcomed her and took care of her. It did not take long for her to realize that her husband shared an illicit relationship with the other woman. Mina was abused verbally and physically when she confronted them. He immediately stopped spending money for their household things and refused to pay his children’s fees, because of which they had to discontinue school.
The violence and abuse became a daily routine. Mina could not bear her children suffering as she was finding it difficult to even feed her children, let alone sending them to school. Unaware of her plight, her parents were shocked and shattered when she came to her parent’s house and narrated her ordeal. The concerned parents immediately decided to complain and went to Ramdas police station. The police officer patiently listened to all that they shared and pacified them. But the police officers did not take any action. Every time Mina’s family visited the police station, they were sent back with false assurances. They felt dejected and realized that the police were not willing to help.
Mina learned about Mahila Shikayat Niwaran Sabha (Women Grievance Cell) through a Community Enabler of DBSS Amritsar. She encouraged Mina and her family to file their complaint in the grievance cell. DBSS Amritsar had been working on the issue of violence against women with community members by creating awareness, conducting workshops and empowering women. Mina and her family, subsequently approached the women grievance cell and Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan formed by DBSS Amritsar in Ajnala. Mina shared her plight with the committees and submitted an application on 30th May 2015. The husband was immediately contacted by the grievance cell. When they verified the applicant’s complaint, they advised and warned her husband that if he does not mend his ways and take care of his family, they will register a case of domestic violence against him.
On 7th June 2015 both the families were summoned by the Women Grievance Cell and Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan in Ajnala. Village leaders and elders of both the families were also summoned. After discussions and confrontations, the husband accepted his fault and promised not to continue any illicit relationship. “I want to live peacefully with my family” said Mina in tears, when she was asked to speak. An agreement was signed by both the parties in the presence of the committees and village leaders. They are now living together with their children. The community enabler of DBSS Amritsar and members of Mahila Adhikar Manch are regularly following-up with family to counsel, guide and support them in their journey forward.