”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. Honestly I can’t remember my wedding day. Whenever I look at photo’s I don’t recognize myself. After the wedding we went on our honeymoon. From the start we had no connection and it was very obvious that we both weren’t in love. 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.”
”For one and half year 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. When I arrived at the Amsterdam airport it felt as if I could finally breath again. Everything about this place made me feel relaxed. I felt at the right place at the right time. I started my new job and I made a lot of friends. 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.” Haritha Khandabattu
To be continued…..