In our quest to celebrate women fighting the regressive society to create a life of their dreams, we bring you the powerful story of Haritha. This young soul escaped an abusive marriage while struggling with multiple life challenges. Her story is an inspiration for many who are struggling to take a stand for themselves.
As per sources, Haritha shared her inspiring story with Humans of Amsterdam. While sharing how she was forced to marry, Haritha mentioned:
“My parents kept talking about finding a suitable husband for me but I kept refusing. I have always been a very ambitious student and after I graduated l wanted to focus on my career as an engineer. My parents kept pushing me and slowly the atmosphere at home was changing and my father barely spoke to me anymore. The tension became unbearable and at some point I couldn’t take it anymore so I gave in. I ended up marrying a man that I barely knew and didn’t love”
She further shared how things soon turned abusive, when she joined her husband’s family after her honeymoon:
“I kept telling myself that everything would be okay and that it all would work out. When we got back I moved in with his family on the other side of India. My in-laws were very controlling and I was forced to give my salary to them. They demanded I would contact my father and ask him for a dowry. My husband turned out just to be as controlling as his parents. He would check my phone regularly and accused me multiple times of cheating on him. Every day the situation was getting worse. At the time I was working as a software engineer for Nike and my job became my ultimate passion. Whenever I would have to work late my husband would ask me who I was having sex with this time. It was humiliating.”
But even then she did not give up on her relationship and tried everything in her power to make it last.
“For one and half years I kept trying to work on our relationship. I would buy plane tickets with my own money to take him on trips around the world. I hoped that if he would see other cultures he would become a more compassionate person. Unfortunately, nothing changed.
One day, after a huge fight I could no longer take it. I talked to my manager at work and I asked him if I could get transferred to another country. He told me I could work in Amsterdam. I didn’t need to think about it and I accepted his offer.”
Haritha felt so relieved when she landed in Amsterdam. But, it took a while before she gathered the courage to take a stand for herself. While sharing how she found the courage to make a decision to move out of abusive marriage, she mentioned:
“One day I visited a storytelling event with women from all over the world who talked about their experiences with physical and emotional abuse. All these women came out of situations way worse than mine and it made me feel strong. When I got home I picked up the phone and called my husband and said: ‘There is nothing you can do to change my mind, I want to get a divorce.’ Never in my life had I been so certain of myself.”
But, rather than supporting their daughter, her family was really upset and angry.
“When my father found out I wanted to divorce my husband he was really upset…. When I arrived, my family was mostly emotional and angry with me for making the decision to get a divorce.”
To change her mind, the parents took Haritha to her husband’s house and discuss the situation:
“For hours my family and his family were trying to convince me to not go through with the divorce. This went on for hours and hours and at some point I was so exhausted I had to go to sleep. That night I slept in his house. Just being there reminded me of all those terrible months. I woke up the next day and I noticed that my bag with my passport, phone and credit cards was missing. I panicked and confronted my in-laws. They said that they had nothing to do with it.”
As two weeks were over, she had to get back to her job in Amsterdam. But, getting a new passport would have taken at least 3 months and the signature of her father or husband.
“I have never felt so hopeless in my entire life but I wasn’t about to give up. I emailed my boss and I told him I was in a serious emergency and that I needed 2 more weeks to fix it, luckily he agreed.”
She further shared how with the help of her sister, she pleaded with authorities to give her a new passport. She tried hard to convince the authorities that her passport was stolen in the mall and her husband and father were out of the country.
But when she traveled back to Amsterdam, she had to restart her life. By the time she was back, she had been gone for 45 days in total and lost her job. But, she refused to give up on the hope of a better life.
“I wasn’t scared or sad, I had never felt so strong in my entire life. After all I had been through I knew I could handle any kind of situation.”
It is inspiring how this brave woman fought against the whole world to create a life for herself. And it is heart-breaking how her own parents refuse to stand by her and understand her pain. While we celebrate her courage, we hope many would seek inspiration to fight their life circumstances and stand for themselves!