A story of one Indian woman who decided to escape from an arranged marriage has inspired thousands of netizens.
, an engineer, decided to marry the man her parents endorsed in order to please them.
She had no feelings for the man, but because her father stopped talking to her, she had to make the tough decision.
Haritha’s story was shared by Debra Barraud on Humans of Amsterdam’s Facebook page. The first part
, posted on Sunday, had 27,000 reactions and over 1,500 shares.
“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.”
“From the start we had no connection and it was very obvious that we both weren’t in love,” she added.
Haritha was hopeful at the beginning. She told herself that everything will be okay and work out, but things turned bad as soon as she moved to her in-laws’ house:
“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.”
Her husband eventually became just like his parents:
“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.”
After one and a half years of struggle, Haritha was fed up. She asked her manager for a work transfer, and that’s when she landed in Amsterdam.
She was empowered by other abused women who shared their stories:
“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.”
That’s when she decided to end it all:
“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.”
The second part
of Haritha’s story, with 36,000 reactions and over 2,600 shares, began with her father’s resistance to her divorce proposal.
She flew back to India and met her “emotional and angry” family before heading off to her husband’s lair.
“I remember sitting in a circle in his living room and everyone was looking at me. For hours my family and his family were trying to convince me to not go through with the divorce. This went on for hours and hours and at some point I was so exhausted I had to go to sleep.”
What happened the following day set Haritha in panic mode:
“I woke up the next day and I noticed that my bag with my passport, phone and credit cards was missing. I panicked and confronted my in-laws. They said that they had nothing to do with my missing bag and that someone must have broken in and stole it. Slowly I started to realize how serious the situation was.”
But the engineer did not give up. She asked her manager to extend her two-week leave so she could sort things out.
According to Haritha, getting a new passport in India will take three months at the least, and will require the signature of her father or husband. She decided to lie her way to speed things up.
Haritha eventually got a new passport and, through an honest explanation to the Embassy of the Netherlands, her residency card.
It was goodbye to her troubled wife life:
“When the airplane took off I could finally breath again. When I landed in Amsterdam I took the train from the airport to my house. I didn’t cry, I couldn’t believe all that had really happened. I felt as if I finally had woken up from a bad dream.”
Unfortunately, with her 45-day absence at work, Haritha was fired. Though she could have fought for her position in court, she opted to savor the peace she long sought:
“Unfortunately, I am still not divorced but I’m never going back to India… Amsterdam is magical, this is where I want to be. This is my home and my friends are my family.”
But all was well. Haritha found another job, where she now works happily as a software engineer.