Padma is 21 years old. She was married in the 8th standard. Her father refused to send her to live with her marital family until she finished the school year, but her in-laws were persistent. She was eventually pulled from school and sent to live in her marital home. At first, she was adjusting and her new family members were accommodating. But soon, everything changed. Household chores were being heaped on her and fights were being picked over the silliest of things. She was regularly abused and beaten. Her husband began to see her as more of a nuisance than a wife and threatened to leave home if she stayed, because of which her father-in-law told her to leave.
Padma returned to her family thinking she was finally safe. Unfortunately, neighbors and other members of the community started questioning her absence from her husband’s house. Rumors of having a runaway daughter-in-law made Padma’s father-in-law appear weak and unable to control his household. That’s why her father-in-law came to her house with a few others and beat her up along with her mother and younger brother, who were also at home. Though they had no desire for Padma to return, attacking her and her family was punishment for bringing shame on them. Following this, Padma’s father vowed never to let her go back to her husband.
Padma was given a chance to start fresh. She now had the time to get back to her studies and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education degree. She is also an Educate Girls Team Balika member. “If my parents and I had been more educated and aware of our rights, we would not have taken the abuse as we did”, says Padma. This is why she uses her horrific experiences with domestic violence to motivate her community to send their girls to school.