While many of us are blessed with supportive fathers, not everyone is as lucky. It is heartbreaking when the person who was supposed to take care of you and protect you from the cruel world, turns into your abuser. You are left with no other choice but to fight against him.
Here is the inspiring story of one such daughter, whose father not only stopped her from achieving her dreams but also abused her and her mother. Today, we are celebrating the inspiring story of Dr. Geetika Khandelwal.
From discouraging his own daughters to mercilessly beating his wife and daughter, this girl’s abusive father did everything to fail them. But how this powerful and inspiring daughter refused to give up on life and created achieved her dreams is quite inspiring.
“My dad forced my mom to get 2 abortions after finding out she was pregnant with girls both times. Right from their suhagraat, he beat her– for not cooking well, for living off his money, and sometimes just when he felt like.
He started beating me when I was 4. He’d punch me and pull my hair– but he rarely hit my sister and brother. I didn’t understand why. Dad abused mom every other day, and if I ever defended her, he’d beat me.
When I wanted to take up Science, he hit me and said I was ‘allowed’ to take commerce or arts; he wanted to marry me off early. My siblings didn’t support me; my sister would often rat me out so he’d beat me.
But I refused; I studied hard. I wanted to be a doctor. With my mentor’s support, I cleared my exam and went to medical school in Mumbai.
It was a government school so the fee was negligible. It felt good to finally have space; so alongside my studies, I participated in sports and beauty pageants.
But after graduating, I struggled to get a job in Mumbai. I went back home; those were some of the worst days of my life. Dad beat me because I wasn’t earning. Once, he snatched a fruit from my hand and said, ‘Ja khud kamaake kha’.
I couldn’t bear it; I left to prepare for my postgrad exam. I got a scholarship and started modelling again.
But my sister saw my photo online and complained. They barged into my PG the same day; my sister and dad beat me in front of everyone. I ran to the bathroom and called my friends. They sent my family away. But dad threatened to kill the photographer who took the photo. He refused to work with me after.
They then threatened to forcefully take me home and slut-shamed me publically. The threats worsened, so after my PG exam I went home again. The abuse continued; no one said a word.
I frantically applied for jobs– 6 months later, I secured a job and left. I worked for a year and started modelling for brands. Throughout, my parents pressured me to get married, but I told them I wanted to focus on my career.
I did go back for Diwali; I thought now that I was earning, dad wouldn’t beat me. But I was wrong. They’d found another picture of mine from a beauty pageant. My brother and dad picked me up by my hair, threw me onto the floor and brutally kicked me. My sister and mom watched in silence. Eventually my neighbours rescued me.
I ran away with one of them that night and filed an FIR. I asked mom one last time if she wanted to come with me; but she refused. So I packed my bags and left for Mumbai.
It was easier to leave this time; I realised I wasn’t the problem. So I’m keeping busy with work, playing sports and volunteering at an orphanage. It hurts to think about them. But I’ve had enough; I’ve made a promise to myself that I’ll never enter that house again– because family or not, abuse is abuse. And I won’t take it anymore.”
At IFORHER, we are in awe of Dr. Geetika’s courage and we wish her loads of luck for her future endeavor. We hope her inspiring struggle against her own abusive family will give strength to many more who are fighting the same battle!