Saheli and a First-Hand Account of Domestic Violence and Abandonment From Banglore to Boston

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A representative image of a victim of domestic violence (Photo courtesy: IndiaTV)

(Editor’s note: This article is written by a victim of domestic violence and abandonment, and reprinted here with the permission of the Support and Friendship for South Asian Women and Families, known as Saheli. The name of the author has been withheld because of privacy reasons.)

By A Victim of Domestic Violence and Abandonment

I was a happy young woman with a great job in Bangalore that I loved. I had friends and a loving family, and knew that one day I would meet and marry a good man. Instead, I met a man online and fell deeply in love. My parents approved and we were married within a month of our first meeting. Our lavish wedding was paid for by my parents taking loans from relatives.

After a wonderful honeymoon in Goa, my husband and I arrived in Massachusetts. He went back to work, and I made plans for my own career. In my mind, we had a good marriage and things were going very well.

A year later my husband proposed a vacation in India and once we got there, my husband asked me to stay on and enjoy my family. He left to return to his job in the US promising an airline ticket to join him in the US very soon.

I waited and waited, but no ticket came. I called but he did not call back, nor did he write or contact me in any way for seven months. In desperation, my father borrowed money from his pension fund and he and I arrived in Massachusetts.

To our horror, my husband was living in our apartment with another woman. She was his first love he said, and his parents had coerced him to marry me, and he and he was unable to tell them that he loved someone else.

He no longer wanted to be married to me. I cried and yelled and he struck me in front of my father, pushed me out of the door, and slammed it shut. There was no apology, no remorse, or empathy. I was blindsided, deeply saddened and thought my life was over.

I had two choices – return to India as a betrayed wife or stay and make it on my own as a single woman in the US. With the financial help, support, guidance and kindness of my Saheli advocates, I resolved to stay against the caring urging of my father. I was young, healthy, well educated, spoke English, skilled in technology and most important, I had a permanent resident’s visa.

Those were two dark years in my life but the encouragement of my Saheli advocates, their constant presence in my life, their wellness calls, the rides they offered to court, attorneys and police, invitations to dinner and lunch, somehow, I have survived.

I have put the past behind me and closed a dark chapter in my life. I now have a well-paying job, my own apartment, and new friends.

I urge all women to know the men they marry well before tying the knot and beware of online overseas marriages.

Thank you Saheli for standing by this abandoned woman. Today, Saheli is a well-regarded local, regional and state-wide domestic violence agency serving South Asian women. All its domestic violence response and prevention work has been made possible by your generosity.

This Durga Pooja, Navratri, and Diwali season, we ask for your support once again. Please donate $50 to Saheli today at https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/saheli-purplepurse2018.

Your donation will put food on the table for a woman and child living in a shelter, pay her to travel by bus and train to court in Boston, pay fees for an attorney, buy shoes for a child or visit the emergency room of a hospital. You will demonstrate that your better angel is guiding you in this time of great political, social and cultural turmoil and vulnerable women continue to face enormous threats.

Every dollar you donate will go directly to Saheli’s Domestic Crisis Fund and we will send a receipt for your tax-deductible gift. Thank you for your support.

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