An Indian woman has been allowed to divorce her husband on the grounds of physical cruelty for not providing her with a toilet in their home. The woman was forced to defecate in open fields for five years since her husband wasn’t willing to build a toilet in their home.
According to BBC, women in rural areas often have to wait until sunset to travel to open fields in order to relieve themselves. The state court described the situation as “not only physical cruelty but also outraging the modesty of a woman.”
The woman, a Rajasthan woman in her twenties, actually filed for divorce back in 2015, as she could no longer stand not having a toilet in her house. India incorporates a more strict law when it comes to divorce; currently, it’s only permitted in cases such as proven cruelty or domestic violence.
However, this woman’s situation was considered as something that’s akin to torture which justifies her need for divorce. “We spend money on buying tobacco, liquor and mobile phones, but are unwilling to construct toilets to protect the dignity of our family,” the Rajasthan court stated.
While the Indian woman was lucky enough to escape her tumultuous situation before it escalated, there are much worse cases where Indian wives are killed just for serving dinner late. In a previous report, an Indian wife was shot by her husband after a heated argument that stemmed from not immediately serving dinner. She died moments after arriving at the hospital.
Meanwhile, the practice of defecating in open areas might sound demeaning or even barbaric to some, but it’s a lot more common in rural India than one might think. In fact, nearly half of the population in India prefer relieving themselves out in open fields instead of using public toilets. By 2019, the Indian government hopes to achieve its goal to have a toilet in every household.