“My father was a drunk, and my mother did not care about her children. At 14 years old, I was facing an arranged marriage. I begged my father not to go through with the marriage; he ignored that request.”
A BROKEN HOME AND AN EARLY MARRIAGE
By the time she was a teenager, Urmi had only ever known an unhealthy family dynamic. Her father was a long-standing alcoholic who would binge drink day after day. Her mother, on the other hand, seemed to not even care about her three children, especially her only daughter. As soon as Urmi’s older brother was old enough, he left the family and moved to India for work. He completely cut himself off from them and Urmi has not spoken to him in two years. To make matters worse, Urmi was forced to stop attending school in the 6th grade because of how impoverished her family was. She longed to study and make a future for herself, but she had no choice but to care for her younger brother and do all of the household chores.
One of her aunts saw how much she was suffering and how poor the family was, and suggested to Urmi’s father to arrange to have her married. At only 14 years old, Urmi had absolutely no desire to be married, as she wanted to simply enjoy her childhood. Her father ignored her request and agreed with the aunt to have an arranged marriage. Soon after, a lady from the same village brought a 35 year-old man to be Urmi’s husband. The man met the family and gave them $180 for her hand in marriage. The father took $80 and gave the lady the other $100 for arranging the marriage.
“My husband held me hostage. I waited for even the slightest chance to escape.”
This man claimed that he was wealthy and owned a lot of land, but when Urmi arrived at his home she realized that he had absolutely nothing. He had lied about everything to her father. Urmi wanted to leave but was held hostage by her husband, with no way to escape. One day, when no one was home Urmi got her chance to escape. Once out of the house, she began crying for help until locals heard her and came to her aid. They contacted PRC and were able to arrest the husband. He is awaiting trial for child marriage and the purchase of a child for the purpose of marriage. The woman who arranged the marriage has also been arrested as well.
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