As soon as Salonia’s* parents got married, they were so excited to have a son! They knew they did not want daughters. In their minds, daughters were an nwanted burden. They longed to have a son because he guaranteed that they would be taken care of in their old age. However, their first child was a daughter. he couple was greatly disappointed.
Not long after the birth of their first daughter, Salonia was born. She was the second, unwelcomed addition to parents who were desperately trying to have a son.
Salonia’s dad constantly abused and neglected his wife and two daughters. He utterly despised them.
After some time, Salonia’s mother gave birth to a son. Her husband was overjoyed! He finally had the son he had always wanted. He chose to lavish gifts of food, time, and love on his son but continued to completely ignore his daughters.
Salonia, her mother, and her older sister constantly lived in fear for their lives because of the violent abuse they experienced each day. One day, things changed. Salonia’s dad was hospitalized. After some time in the hospital, he passed away.
Salonia’s mother was faced with relying on their relatives for help. However, they did not want to help her in the ways she needed. They pushed Salonia’s mother to marry Salonia off at the age of 14 In despair, and feeling completely helpless, Salonia’s mother consented.
Because of her impending marriage, Salonia’s family forced her to stop going to school. After missing school for a week, her teachers became very concerned and called her family. They explained that she would never return to school, because she was to be married.
The teachers acted quickly and called our social worker. The group went straight to Salonia’s house.
When they arrived at her door-step, Salonia tearfully greeted them. Sharing her fears, she said: “I am afraid of getting married. I don’t want marriage. I want to study, but my mother and relatives are forcing me into marriage.”
After hearing the news, our staff set out to convince her mother to stop blindly following traditions that would ruin her daughter’s life. They involved a nurse, who explained the physical and psychological problems that her daughter would face as a child bride. Also, they clearly explained how child marriage is illegal in India.
Salonia’s mother relented and agreed to stop the marriage.
Our staff’s quick intervention saved Salonia’s life.
Today, Salonia is in school, back where she belongs. Her favorite subjects are Technology and Computer Science. She dreams of being an educated and independent woman, and with IGP’s help, she can pursue her dream!
Salonia is one story of many. Countless other girls are longing for the opportunity to continue their education, instead of being married in their early teenage years.
IGP works hard to go upstream to stop female gendercide before it happens: saving lives and rescuing girls before they are trafficked as child brides or into brothels. We are the sole international humanitarian organization working with Indian grassroots organizations to prevent trafficking before it occurs.