Hoping for a Second Chance: Punita Devi

Hoping for a Second Chance: Punita Devi

Sharelines

20 yr old Punita Devi has put her abusive marriage behind her after our partners helped her get justice. Read her story: http://bit.ly/210Fgu3

Our partners in Bihar helped restore Punita Devi’s faith after she was physically abused by her husband. Read more: http://bit.ly/210Fgu3

Her voice was barely above a whisper when Punita Devi, 20, spoke about her hopes for the future. Just a year earlier, she had been so badly beaten up by her husband and his family that the left side of her head, face and shoulder had turned black. Even now, she cannot bend down and work in the fields. It takes courage to be hopeful for a better life after everything she has been through.

Punita, who is from Partapur village in Bihar’s Madhubani district, was married at the age of 17 years to a man who worked in a garment factory in Bhiwandi, near Mumbai. Even though her father was a poor fisherman belonging to Malha community (Other Backward Castes), he paid Rs 1,00,000 as dowry. However, after just six months, the demands for more money began, accompanied by severe physical violence by her husband whenever he came home from Mumbai.

Her in-laws took away all her jewellery, mistreated her and also instigated their son against her. Often, they would refuse her food. She was also not allowed to go back to her parents’ home.

Once, her uncle managed to bring her home but she was forced to go back, as her in-laws gave word to their Jati Panchayat that they would keep her well. However, the physical violence continued for a year, after which the Jati Panchayat asked her to return to her village and settle the dispute remotely.

Punita finally returned home in her bruised condition and approached her aunt Dhanmanti Devi, 60, who was the mukhiya of the village’s Mahila Dastak. When Dhanmanti Devi discussed her case with other members, they decided to forward the case to the state-sponsored Women’s Helpline. On the other hand, with the help of Samajik Chetna Kendra (a network partner in Madhubani), Punita’s case was also taken to the court.

After hearing Punita’s case, the Women’s Helpline passed an order for Punita’s in-laws to return Rs 1,50,000 to her, which they have not done yet. The court also ordered the police to arrest members of the family, but they managed to get bail. The case is still ongoing.

Dhanmanti Devi and the members of Mahila Dastak are determined to get Punita justice. They are ready to go all the way to Delhi, if required.

“I feel responsible for being a burden on my family. So I work with my father in the tea stall to help him earn money,” Punita says. She is now waiting for the settlement to happen, so that she can start thinking about her future.

“I will marry whoever my father chooses. What he does for me will be for my own good. Not everyone is bad. I hope that the next man will be good,” she concludes.

 

 

Written by Oxfam India staff

 

Gender Justice

We campaign to change patriarchal mindsets that influence violence against women  

Read More

Related Blogs

Blogs

Stories that inspire us

Gender Justice

27 Jun, 2020

Lucknow

Haq Se… We (He, She and Ze) are all Equal!

Fighting for the social acceptance of LGBTQ* community Farhaz Haidar (name changed), a 24-year-old champion from UP, belongs to a middle-class Muslim family from Lakhimpur tehsil i...

Gender Justice

25 Jun, 2020

Lucknow

Living the Rainbow Dream

“I still remember how wonderful childhood used to be, I could roam the streets, wearing flowers and humming sweet dreams. I still remember wearing my elder sister’s frock, her ank...

Gender Justice

15 Jun, 2020

Patna

Yes, It is That Time of the Month!

I still remember the date. 8 February 1995. Not because it was my favourite cousin’s wedding but because it was my ‘first’ day. I remember standing in the toilet of my aunt’s house ...

Gender Justice

14 Jun, 2020

Bhubaneswar

It is Raja Festival, Let’s Talk about Periods

It was mid-June and the year was 1992. It was raining. I remember my cousins and I, in this beautiful village in Balasore district, were almost teary eyed for not being able to go o...

img Become an Oxfam Supporter, Sign Up Today One of the most trusted non-profit organisations in India

The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.