“I don’t know what got into him, but he beat me like an animal, in front of Deva”

TW: abuse and suicide “I was 19 when I got married. After dating for 6 months, I was convinced that he was the love of my life. My parents didn’t approve, but they made all the arrangements for my big day, just to see me happy.

The initial months of our marriage were blissful but then, his mother started taunting me for not bringing ‘enough’ dowry. When my husband joined her to taunt me, I was shocked! And 6 months in, when I bought a ring from my parent’s money, he hit me. I went numb; I wanted to tell my parents but kis muh se batati?

And then a month later, I found out I was pregnant. And although Devika’s birth will be the highlight of my life, I can never forget how my husband ignored her. Even if she was bawling her eyes out, he never went near her.

After a point, I was done caring and made Devika my priority. I wanted to give her my best and so, 2 months after giving birth, I started working.

This went on for 2 years until the day I asked for Rs.1500 from my husband to buy a gas stove. I don’t know what got into him, but he beat me like an animal, in front of Deva... It was July 2018, and revisiting that night still gives me shudders…my eardrum was torn, my gums were swollen and I had bruises on my face. Even my throat was sore from screaming for help, but his parents turned a deaf ear.

That night, I went up to the terrace and thought of ending my life. But Devika’s smiling face started playing in front of my eyes, so I called Maa and told her everything. Her words, ‘Ghar aaja abhi! We’ll deal with it together,’ gave me the strength to walk out; I filed a complaint against my husband.

I was done living in fear; I was done with him! And in order to give Deva a good life, I had to move on. So I filed for divorce and cut all ties.

But he’d scarred me, both emotionally and physically and I was in depression for a few months. Again, Deva got me out of it. Even as a 3 year old, she’d know whenever I felt low and make me smile by getting me her barbie or hugging me tight.

I was able to piece myself together and with time, I got back to work. Today, 3 years later, I’ve come a long way. I'm well known in the makeup industry and I’ll even be opening my own salon next month!

I’m not that naive 19-year-old anymore who waited for hell to break loose before raising her voice. I’m a 25-year-old single mother to a beautiful daughter who now understands the importance of speaking up against injustice. And that’s how I wish to raise Deva, as a girl with a voice!”

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