Translate page with Google

Story Publication logo March 20, 2014

Voices from India: Three Stories of Dowry Violence


Media file: 2013f-features-a-broken-promise-page-3_1024.jpg

The tensions between India's patriarchal traditions and modernism can be seen in the struggle...

Media file: saraswati.jpg
Image by Varsha Ramakrishnan. India, 2013.

Weddings in India are steeped in tradition and culture. In Hinduism, there are multiple rules and religious requirements that need to be fulfilled to sanctify a marriage. One of the traditions that has been passed down in time is the system of dowry. The dowry was initially a way to help a bride be financially independent after going to her husband's home. Today it is a way for a groom to extort money from a bride and her family.

I came across victims of dowry violence for the first time as a second-year medical student. I had noticed that the female burns ward was full and the male ward almost always empty. I found out that most of these women were victims of dowry violence—some with 92 percent burns and more.

After speaking to multiple NGOs, lawyers, academic researchers, doctors and social workers, I began to get a clearer picture of dowry violence for what it was. Here are the stories of three women who have had to suffer in silence.


Three women grouped together: an elderly woman smiling, a transwoman with her arms folded, and a woman holding her headscarf with a baby strapped to her back.


Gender Equality

Gender Equality
navy halftone illustration of a female doctor with her arms crossed


Health Inequities

Health Inequities

Support our work

Your support ensures great journalism and education on underreported and systemic global issues