Swati’s family refused her request to marry and vehemently opposed the relationship continuing. In traditional Indian families, parents still believe they have the right to determine their children’s future. Vikas was not the future they envisaged for their daughter. During one heated argument, the violence became extreme and Swati was severely beaten by both her father and brother. From then she lived in fear that this violence would continue or escalate if she did not change her mind.
Through regular counseling Swati increased her personal confidence. With this increasing confidence decisions no longer based in avoidance and powerlessness became possible. She began to understand that a solution was possible that addressed the conflict and did not distance her from her family. At this point the Women’s Empowerment Center was able to facilitate meetings between Swati and the other members of her family, providing counseling and education on human rights and the legal rights of women in today’s society. With this understanding the family agreed to the marriage.
The final outcome was what Swati had initially wished for –with greater possibilities for the future too, as Swati legally married Vikas in court in the presence of her parents. By understanding her rights, she is developing the confidence to exercise her rights. Swati is now beginning a new confident and happy life, in partnership with her boyfriend and with the support of her family.