She could take this step because of the counselling and support given by the staff of Savitribai Phule Mahila Mandal, a partner of Aid for Change working in Beed district.
Recalling her past, Hausabai shares that despite being a class IV government employee earning a monthly salary of Rs. 28,000 her husband would not give any money for household expenses and would beat her whenever she asked for money. Most often than not he would spend his money on alcohol and beat her and her children on coming home completely drunk. Her 18 year old son Sangar adds, “There were times he would bring groceries and urinate on them or stamp with his feet upon our bhakari (pearl millet bread) and expect us to eat it,” Sangar who had to cut short his studies after the 9th class lives with his mother and supports the family by working in a roadside coconut stall and earns about 200 rupees in a day. Sangar recalls that a couple of times he has been beaten by his father and thrown out of the house with his mother and his siblings at 2.00 am. The violent behavior of his father has affected Sangar and both his siblings adversely. While Sangar could not continue his studies, his elder brother had to spend time in a juvenile home for getting into street fights, while his elder sister who was married off early to avoid being beaten is now a young widow.
Hausabai says, “The decision to walk out on my husband was a difficult one for me. My husband’s elder brother is mentally ill but his wife who is a practicing lawyer continues to stay with him and is ensuring that he gets treatment. I think that my husband is also mentally ill and needs to be treated for it but who will listen to me? People expect that a woman should stay with her husband no matter what. I am getting old now. How long can I stay with my four brothers who live as daily wage workers on the sugar cane field? Now that my parents have also aged it felt unwelcome to stay with them anymore. But I have had enough of my husband and his misbehavior. So I left him.”
The future is uncertain but Hausabai is happy with her decision and enjoys a good night sleep even if it is on a half empty stomach on certain nights. She describes it as “A little empty space in my stomach but a lot of peace in my mind. “ Her monthly earnings of Rs. 1500 and the earnings of her sons help the family to live in a rented house.
Hausabai decision has helped her become more confident. She says, “I am not afraid of my husband any more. Sometimes he comes here and stands outside the house shouting a lot of bad words and saying bad things about my character. Earlier I would have been afraid to confront him but now whenever he does that I or Sangar step out to confront him and he simply runs away. He will realize that he cannot hurt me anymore. I plan to claim for maintenance expenses for the children under the Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act. “
Hausabai believes that from here on things can only get better. Coming out of an abusive situation means that Hausabai can start dreaming again, about a better life for herself and her sons, about a house of her own. Sangar dreams too now of becoming a police man someday and helping other women like his mother.