The concept of arranged marriage now seems insane in America though at one point it was how most marriages came to be. In India, while men and women now have some say in the matter, it is still a tradition in some places to be in an arranged marriage. Along with this tradition is the belief that a woman’s purity and value is in their virginity.
Jitender Chhatar, a 29-year-old farmer in India, knew these traditions and was about to be set up with another woman. The families had spoken and had decided to arrange the marriage and when his soon to be wife found out about the arrangement, she had a confession.
She told him how she was raped by a man named Neeraj, who runs a coaching center, along with four other people. Because of this, she felt unworthy to marry and knew there would be cultural problems for Jitender if he went through with the marriage. Instead of running he married her, now he’s working to send her to law school to stand up for herself and other rape victims in court.
Jitender doesn’t see his wife as a broken sex victim, in fact, he doesn’t even bring it up.
“Since the day we got engaged, except for discussions with the lawyer or in the court, we don’t talk about my case much. I and my family owe a lot to Jitender …” she said.
As they followed up with the wife’s case they actually caught one of the people who was a part of the rape after they tried to extort money and trump up false accusations to get Jitender to call off the marriage.
The whole time he refused to leave the side of his wife, saying “She can join the judicial services or as a lawyer can help other rape survivors. We have already started a platform called, Youth Against Rapes.”
Gender equality is a distant dream in India, but thanks to men like Jitender, it’s slowly becoming a reality.