Stories

Nadila: Facing Abuse over Dowry Demands

Imagine preparing for your wedding and calculating the costs of each element involved. The dress, the festivities, the food… Weddings as we know them are already expensive, but in India, a bride’s parents are not only expected to pay for the wedding—they’re also expected to pay the groom a dowry.

In many cases, dowries aren’t just one simple payment to the groom; new husbands in India often have a great deal of demands, greedily pressuring brides to make their families pay. If they don’t, newly wedded women in India are tortured and humiliated, beaten, and sometimes even burned alive by their husbands or in-laws.

Our staff recently met a woman named Nadila, whose marriage with Gopal was torn apart because of his dowry demands. It was devastating.

What’s even more troublesome is the fact that Nadila’s parents gave Gopal all he had asked for when they were married—but he decided he wanted more money after the wedding. Nadila couldn’t bring herself to tell her parents what she was dealing with, since they had already given so much to Gopal. Instead, she endured Gopal’s insults and beatings.

After nine years of torture, Nadila left with the couple’s three children to live with her family. Life still wasn’t easy, though. Nadila worked hard to provide for her children, but had no education since her parents hadn’t seen a need to send a daughter to school.

Long hours laboring in agricultural fields left Nadila with an aching back and trembling legs. Sometimes she lost her balance and fell, dirtying her clothes in the clay. Her coworkers laughed at her, and Nadila didn’t know what else to do.

But then, Nadila got to know Chithra, an Adult Literacy teacher who lived in her parents’ village. Nadila enrolled in the Literacy Class and began to learn everything from reading and writing to math and money saving. Chithra helped Nadila open a bank account, and thanks to the class, Nadila can sign her own name when she withdraws money.

Chithra also shared the Gospel with Nadila, and she was very receptive. Nadila loves the story of Ruth and shares it with others, along with the Gospel. She is regularly attending a worshipping group and wants everyone to know the one true God she has met, who loves her just the way she is.

Nadila wants to return to her husband, but it’s a difficult decision to make. Please pray for Nadila’s marriage, children, and financial needs.