Srinagar: 45-year-old Hadeesa says for the last 10 years she has been struggling to live with dignity and respect. A resident of Srinagar, she says early into marriage, her in-laws unleashed atrocities, her husband abandoned her, remarried and refused to pay any money to support her.
"My in-laws used to harass me, my mother-in-law, sisters-in-law and even their children used swear words, but I never lost my cool, they even abused my father, this was unbearable for me," she tells NDTV.
Hadeesa is not alone. Cases of domestic violence are on the rise in Jammu and Kashmir. On an average, the state women's commission receives 20 complaints of domestic violence daily and an equal number of complaints are received by the valley's lone women's police station.
Last year, 2,000 cases of domestic violence were registered in the valley. 2,000 more were registered in the four years before that. However, this year, the state women's commission has already received 4,000 harassment complaints.
47-year-old Nazima says her husband started harassing her soon after their marriage 20 years ago. The Srinagar resident says she lived with the abuse and mental torture for eight years, but this did not stop her husband to throw her out of his house with her 12-year-old adopted daughter. Now, he is neither giving her divorce nor taking her back, Nazima tells us.
"We earned good money but blew away everything in gambling. He was a habitual drunk and just bothered about his parents," she says.
In the Kashmir valley, incidents of violence against women at home are usually swept under the carpet for fear of ostracisation and the ongoing militancy and conflict has made things worse. The fallout is equally worse among the displaced Kashmiri Pandits living in Jammu and elsewhere.
Pooja Kaul married two years ago. Six months later, she says, her husband started making dowry demands, beat her and used hot rods to burn her. When the brutality became unbearable, she says she ran away to live with her sister in a Pandit migrant camp in Jammu, some ten months ago.
According to the state commission for women, the ongoing cycle of violence is breaking the endurance of women and most of them just want to leave the abusive relationships.
"Political turmoil has created a huge impact due to that women can't tolerate such things happening at home. They are already overburdened, they say what is the point, if the relationship is not working then it is better just to leave and take care of oneself and save oneself," said Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor, Chairperson State Commission For Women.