Published on 14 April 2022
Abused, disowned, prostituted, and shamed—one can only imagine the horrors Sunita*, a 26-year-old mother in Dhanbad, Jharkhand, had to endure at the hands of her husband, Roshan*, all because she was expected to 'give' him a son!
Sunita and Roshan got married in April 2010. After trying for a year, they had their first child, a girl, in December 2011. Instead of jubilation at the birth of the new baby, Roshan and her in-laws’ demeanor towards Sunita altered drastically overnight.
"They asked me how I dared to deliver a girl. They wanted a boy," said Sunita. “My husband did not see any value in me anymore. He even invited his friends to sleep with me in exchange for money.” Roshan and his parents were so infuriated that Sunita failed to give them a son that they abused Sunita and her daughter for years because of this.
Encouraged by his parents, Roshan also married another woman and now has a son with his second wife.
Sunita gave birth to a second daughter in May 2017. This was the last straw for Roshan. He went as far as threatening Sunita to abandon the two daughters or face dire consequences. There were even plans to sell Sunita and her daughters off into sex trade.
For Sunita, her daughters’ safety was the utmost priority. She had wanted to escape for a long time, but she had no support or income to rely on. Her own parents disapproved of this decision. In early 2018, with incredible resilience and bravery, Sunita mustered the courage and finally ran away from her marital home with her two young daughters. Determined to build a better life for them, she found a job as a salesperson and found a house to rent.
Sadly, even after Sunita was separated from her husband, the harassment did not end. Roshan and his second wife found various ways to humiliate and hurt them. They edited fake obscene photographs of Sunita and her daughters and circulated these doctored images along with Sunita’s personal contact details on WhatsApp and Facebook, resulting in terrible hardship for Sunita and her young daughters.
Desperate, Sunita reached out to ADF India allied lawyers for help. She has filed a private complaint in the Dhanbad court, and an FIR has been lodged against her husband and those involved. Our allied lawyers are working to ensure she has the protection she and her daughters so desperately need.
“As a team, with many who themselves are parents to daughters, ADF India is standing firm with Sunita and her daughters to ensure that they receive justice”, said Adv. Rajlakshmi, ADF India allied lawyer.
In India, women face extreme societal pressure to produce a son. Mothers bear the full brunt of the scorn and shame that arise from the birth of a girl child. Many face violence or abandonment in terrifying degrees, as seen in Sunita’s case. Many are still silent.
The Child Sex Ratio in Jharkhand has dropped from 965 females per 1,000 males in 2001 to only 948 in 2011 as per government census. This clearly exposes daughter-aversion in the state. While the birth of a son is welcomed with distribution of sweets, fanfare and festivities, the birth of a daughter is considered a curse and attracts ridicule and even assault.
LEGAL AID AND PREGNANCY HELPLINE
ADF India provides free legal assistance through our panel of allied lawyers to women whose unborn girl children face in any way a hindrance to L.I.F.E (Love, Inheritance, Freedom, Equality). To know more, please visit www.adfindia.org/legal-aid.
You may also call the pregnancy helpline at 0444 631 4300 or visit www.pregnancyhelpline.in
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*name has been changed to protect the privacy of individuals