Abuse – If a dowry was not paid, bride may be beaten and verbally abused by her husband and his family … until her family pays the full sum demanded by the groom. And physical abuse is not limited to dowry issues. 57% of men in India believe it is justified for husbands to beat their wives, and 53% of women also believe this abuse is justified.*
Bride burning – Sometimes women’s own families set them on fire. About 22 women in India are victims of “bride burning” every day.** A new bride named Roopa survived this horrific practice. Watch her story.
Alcoholism – Alcoholism is common. Many husbands pocket their daily wages and spend it all on alcohol rather than supporting their wives and children. Women are forced to find whatever work they can just to put food on the table for themselves and their children.
Being widows – There are an estimated 40 million widows in India, and they are social outcasts.*** After their husbands die, these women are scorned, rejected, and abandoned by their own family and neighbors as cursed by the gods. Most can’t read or write, so they are forced to resort to begging or manual labor to put food on the table. And they are cheated by shopkeepers and employers.
Illiteracy – Not being educated is a curse for women in India. Their options for employment are limited—mostly to manual labor—and dishonest employers and shopkeepers cheat them out of money because they can’t count it. Illiterate women are more likely to live in poverty … and less likely to enroll their sons or daughters in school.
A generational cycle of oppression – If girls survive and go on to give birth to their own children, their own daughters are in danger. They are seen as unwanted burdens in their families … and the cycle continues.
*UNICEF: Global Report Card on Adolescents 2012
**India National Crime Records Bureau
***2001 India Census