My Life, Mere Faisle: Monika

‘My life, Mere Faisle’ is an intervention designed and implemented by Pravah and its partners since 2015. This intervention looks at the issue of Early and Child Marriage through the psycho-social approach, enabling young people to take charge of one’s lives and decisions.

Monika (name changed), 17 years old, Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh

Monika is a 17-year-old girl from Mishirpur village in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. She has eight members in her family including her parents, a sister, two elder brothers, a sister-in-law and her two nieces. She is very close to her mother and shares everything with her.

Monika is a courageous girl. As a teenager, she has seen domestic violence in her own home. Domestic violence is common in many households and each person who experiences it has a different encounter with it. For Monika, this encounter involved confronting her own brother. Her brother used to beat his wife after getting drinking himself to oblivion. At first, she tried to talk to her parents and her brother about it to make them understand that nobody had the right to beat another person. Even her sister-in-law had accepted her fate and did not try to fight back.

Then, one night, when her brother physically assaulted his wife again, she took a stand and stepped forward to help. She dialled 100 and reported the incident to the Police. Nobody in her family supported her, but she remained firm on her decision. The Police arrived, arrested her brother and kept him in a jail cell for two days. The family was shocked. Finally, when her brother arrived home after two days, his behaviour changed. He realised his mistakes, corrected his wrongs and even quit drinking.

Such is Monika’s courage and determination – justice and reform are her priorities. It is easier to stand against outsiders, but exceedingly difficult to go against one’s own family to strive for justice.

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