This Child Bride Used Facebook Posts to Get Her Marriage Annulled
“I wanted to study, but my family and my in-laws wanted me to live with a drunkard.”
For many, the sole purpose of old Facebook posts is to remind you of whatever embarrassing thing you were doing “On This Day” six years ago — when you’d really rather forget.
But for one young woman in India, old comments and posts on Facebook served as the proof she needed to get her underage marriage annulled, the Agence France-Presse reports.
Sushila Bishnoi and her husband were married in 2010 in a secret ceremony in Rajasthan, which has the highest rates of child marriage in India, according to a recent study. Though the legal age of marriage for girls is 18 and 21 for boys in India, both Bishnoi and her husband were just 12 when they were married, AFP reports.
For the past seven years, Bishnoi has lived with her parents, but the now-19-year-old said her parents planned to force her to move in with her husband and his family, and consummate the marriage.
That’s when Bishnoi took her fate into her own hands.
“I wanted to study, but my family and my in-laws wanted me to live with a drunkard,” she told AFP. “It was about life and death, and I chose to live.”
Bishnoi ran away from home and was on a highway when Kriti Bharti, founder of the Saarthi Trust, a nonprofit that has helped annul over 31 child marriages and keep more than 900 children from being forced into marriages in India, found her, Bharti told the Hindustan Times.
Bharti and Bishnoi combed through her husband’s Facebook profile, going back through history to look for evidence of their child marriage — and they found it.
“Many of his friends had posted congratulatory messages on his Facebook page,” Bharti told AFP. Some of these friends also had videos of the marriage, the Hindustan Times reports. “The court accepted the evidence and annulled the marriage,” Bharti said.
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The annulment was a personal win for Bishnoi, but came just one day after India’s Supreme Court ruled that sex with an underage girl is rape, even if she is married — a major win for girls and women across the country.