#FreeSantadevi: No Charges, No Fines, Redefine the System of Disrepute
This is the story of Santadevi Meghwal of Rajasthan, India who wants to pursue her dreams of becoming a teacher. Unfortunately, she is being restrained by a potential 16 lakh ($25,000 USD) fine if she does not fulfill the obligation of marriage forced upon her (by parental agreement) at just 11 months old. She is also being stalked by the man she was contracted to marry, before she could even walk.
In her own words:
“When I turned 16, I came to know that I had been married off as a child.
But I don’t even remember that marriage,
so I don’t want to honor it .
I want it annulled.”
Despite fines and potential attacks, Santadevi has spoken out, saying that, "The more pressure put on me, the more determined I became to break free..."
Now, we must stand up for the women standing in courage to defy patriarchal laws that consider it legitimate to force a child to marry.
Price of Silence performing arts collective for women's rights, 16 December Kranti in Delhi , FemPositive in Mumbai and Feminism in India are in action and launching a pictorial campaign asking the world to activate their cameras for #FreeSantadevi. Price of Silence is taking pictures of activists around the world holding up signs with a message that reads, "Charge the system, not the warrior #FreeSantadevi"
Messages have come in from Tunisia, Delhi, Mumbai, Central America, and New York City. Now, we need you to join with us in letting the world know that we need their pics, which we will deliver with petitions, and any articles written about this action for Santadevi to the Indian Consulate and the Central Government of India.
We are standing on the platform built on the bravery of Santadevi demanding support from the courts in the districts childhood marriages are arranged and the central governments where support in those courts yields to the custom of demeaning women’s lives as instruments to the maelstrom of the largest human rights conflict in the world-that of violence against women in all its forms. We also believe that if anyone should be charged it is those who arrange child marriages, those who preside over child marriages, and any government silent in the cause of ending childhood marriages.
“I want to study further and become a teacher…”-Santadevi Meghwal
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