Thursday, June 26, 2008

"Her husband began to beat her viciously every night ... "

The son of a cousin of my good friend Bill in SC, is in India right now. He's working with some NGOs that work with Dalits associated with the Dalit Freedom Network. He's also blogging intermittently. The latest post is a powerful and harrowing story, of a woman by the name of Shiamala Baby, the daughter of a Hindu father and Christian mother, raised a Christian, who married a respectable Christian man ... who beat her violently for nearly ten years.
Their marriage began happily, but soon afterwards her husband began to beat her viciously every night, encouraged and egged on by his mother, who nagged her son to keep beating until he drew blood.

Shiamala at first sought to bear up under the suffering, speaking little of it and seeking to be a good wife. But the torture continued, and grew. Her husband and his mother imprisoned her in their house to keep her from telling the wider community about her inhuman treatment, and her husband threatened to kill her if she tried to leave.

Her family, hearing only the vaguest rumors of her suffering, sought to save her. Twice her brother came to get her out, first by himself, and second with a policeman. But Shiamala was never permitted to speak to them without her husband standing over her. And when her brother and the policeman tried to take her away by force, her husband became hysterical, showed remorse, told her he loved her, promised to stop her ill treatment, and threatened to kill himself if she tried to leave him. Shiamala, despite the desperate urging of her brother, chose to stay. And when her brother had left, Shiamala's husband beat her senseless.

And so their marriage continued for ten years.
One of his colleagues, who works for the Dalit Freedom Network, also blogs at Incredible India (which, I suspect is a take on the GOI's Incredible India tourism promotion campaign).

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