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tv   Outcast Wives  BBC News  March 5, 2017 4:30pm-5:01pm GMT

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the west of the its way towards the west of the british isles and creeping eastwards throughout the course of the day. hello — this is bbc news with ben brown. the latest headlines: the chancellor, phillip hammond, has dismissed as "reckless" calls for him to increase spending in his first budget on wednesday. we're spending over £50 billion a year, just on paying the interest on our debt — that's more than we spend on defence and overseas aid together. the white house has asked congress to examine president trump's claims that barack obama ordered his phones to be tapped during the election. francois fillon‘s aims to rescue his bid for the french presidency at a rally paris. his future will be debated by senior politicians in his centre—right party tomorrow. now on bbc news special edition of inside out. not a day had come in my life where you really feel that you want to end this right now. sorry...
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breaking the wall of silence — the wives separated from their husbands, shunned by their communities and treated as tainted goods. the moment their daughter has been left by her husband, her status becomes zero, nil! the impact for women who are left, who have been abandoned, is quite devastating. it's leaving them almost in chains within their society. with thousands of brides branded as outcasts, we reveal the injustices and indignities many of them encounter. they marry us, they bring us over, then they treat us like a dirty rag. ritu has just arrived from india. she's embarking on an extraordinary
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personal mission to find her estranged husband. i am feeling a bit nervous as well as emotional, as i have not seen this man since one and a half years. i don't know how he will react when he sees me. she's used up all her savings and put her teaching career on hold to come to london and get out of a marriage in which she feels abandoned. i felt betrayed. i felt that my whole world has been disturbed or shaken and shattered. in fact, she barely knew her groom, it was an arranged marriage before exchanging vows they only knew each other one hour. the marriage was finalised one week before. you talk
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about your likes, dislikes, your dreams of life and what he's been doing in london. you are meeting a strangerfor doing in london. you are meeting a stranger for the first time and he's going to be your husband. at the back of your mind, you are nervous, excited, you are attracted to wharton. —— towards him. excited, you are attracted to wharton. -- towards him. she insists she did not feel pressured into the marriage but the wedding took place just 48 hours after they had met. we only truly had one day. we had to prepare the wedding as much as we could and arranged everything, the temple where we wanted to get married, the dinner after the wedding, and everything. the wedding night, was it what you hoped?m didn't go well. he had a flight early in the morning so he left at midnight so we didn't even spend the night together. after returning to the uk he assured ritu he would
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arrange for her to join the uk he assured ritu he would arrange for her tojoin him but within months the relationship became strained and ritu's visa application, which are quite a husband's support, never completed. she wants a divorce but in india it's very difficult to divorce and absent spouse. she feels trapped in absent spouse. she feels trapped in a meaningless marriage to a man she barely knows i might never meet again. sometimes i have to really curse myself, why did i take the decision? i could have taken some time. i could have asked him not to get married so soon. not a day had come in my life where you really feel that you want to end this now. sorry... there are believed to be tens of thousands of women left in limbo like ritu. many are brides from india, pakistan and bangladesh, who claim they have been cast aside, abandoned, by their british husbands. for many of these wives,
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abandonment is just the final incident in a relationship that was characterised with abuse and deceit from even before the wedding. throughout their marriage, many of these women are exploited forfinancial gain. some are forced into domestic slavery. others are even duped into giving up their children. we are looking at thousands of women, so this is not an insignificant number. we're only beginning to touch and scratch the surface of the problem. but we see is a continuum of sexual violence that they have been subjected to, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse and the end process is often abandonment. kulwant was brought to the uk from india by her british national husband four years ago. she says that as well as being treated as a domestic slave, her husband subjected her to violence every day. in desperation, kulwant says
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she eventually picked up her son and ran away. that was 18 months ago and ever since, her husband has refused any contact with her. along with her son, kulwant now lives in temporary accommodation and with the help of a charity she's trying to rebuild her life. i have travelled from london to punjab, the north of india ? it's the same journey that every year hundreds of indian british nationals make looking for a wife. at a secret location in chandigarh, the capital of punjab, a special meeting for women is being held. most of the women here are married
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to men from abroad and, according to the head of the charity who organised this event, many have something else in common — their husbands have deserted them. more and more girls are in such a big mess. i see a lot of beautiful educated women, they are in a mess. generally, it's 15 cases a month. it's increasing. in this region alone, the local authority estimates that there are well over 15,000 abandoned wives. their husbands come from all over the world, but british men are thought to account for over one—third of these cases and for many of these grooms the motivation is not love, it's money. usually, it's like this — he comes here and he asks for massive money from the dowry and they marry, the girls' parents give the dowry, he took the money, he enjoys his honeymoon months and then, he never comes back.
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despite being outlawed since 1961, in india it is customary for the bride's family to give money or gifts to the groom prior to the wedding ceremony. these dowries often amount to tens of thousands of pounds and it doesn't end there! a lot of women say that well after the marriage, dowry demands continue, and, ultimately, when they cannot meet dowry demands, they are abandoned. in a rural village on the outskirts of punjab, kalmajit married a man from europe three years ago. to pay for the dowry and the wedding, her father scraped together almost all of his life savings. within days of accepting his hand in marriage, kamaljit‘s says her husband started complaining
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about the dowry. within days of accepting his hand in marriage, kamaljit‘s says her husband started complaining about the dowry. eventually, says kalmajit, her husband abandoned her and returned to italy. she claims he left her even though she was pregnant. just a few weeks later, kalmajit‘s daughter died, but even then she says her husband did not contact her. many women like kalmajit still desperately hope to revive
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marriages with husbands who have left them, because the alternative carries a heavy stigma. life as an abandoned woman in india means living as an outcast, an outcast wife. the impact for women who are left, who are being abandoned, is quite devastating, because it can affect herjob prospects. it can affect the way the community view her. and the way they view their families as well. it can affect, if she has children, how the children are seen, how the children are raised, and if you come from very poor environments, very poor families, then actually what that is doing is adding additional pressure to the family and a sort of additional reputation risk. she feels she has no value and society makes it sure she has no value. the problem is that serious.
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it could lead to a suicidal attempt. and there have been hundreds of examples where parents have committed suicide. ten days after arriving in london, ritu's had no success in tracking down her husband, so she's come to a woman's group, seeking advice and support. so, basically to sum it up, he doesn't want to know you. literally, you just want to end the relationship, but trying to find the reason behind it, but at the end of the day you can't go back, you can't move forward, you are stuck, stagnant. that's a very horrible position to be in. i think you cannot ever get answers to the questions you are looking for, because from what you said you can't expect any sanity from him. if she finds him, ritu wants to ask her husband for a divorce. but most wives left in india never get the opportunity to do this. uk immigration rules prohibit them from entering the country. she will have problems in serving him in england, because she cannot come in as a visitor because she has to disclose she has a husband and she is married to a british national and once she discloses
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that she will be asked why aren't you applying for a spousal visa, and a spousal visa needs a husband's support, so she is caught in catch 22. unable to obtain a divorce via the british courts, abandoned wives must turn to the indian judicial system. today, like every day, in chandigarh, the legal office that deals with marital issues is busy. some of the women and families here are desperately seeking help to advance criminal and divorce proceedings against absent husbands. our legal system is little bit slow, it will take years and years
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to get the decision. there are a number of difficulties, of hurdles for each and every step, and more over these girls don't have is the money to pay for the legal system, even to go from one station to the other for the documentation and there is no direct legal system available, where she could apply as in a domestic marriage, if it fails. abandoned wives are not only at the mercy of the courts when it comes to obtaining a divorce — many face legal difficulties, if their husbands take their children. six years ago, sonali got married in pakistan. her husband, a british national, arranged for her to come and live with him and her in—laws in london.
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i came here and i was seven months pregnant. i was thinking everything would be fine and my life would be better but they treated me like a slave or servant in their house and they never allowed me to go outside. shortly after she had given birth, sonali says her husband suggested a family holiday back in pakistan to help her recover. on their second night abroad, he was out with friends but phoned her with a strange demand. my husband called me first and said, "i am coming to pick up my son because a few relatives are coming from karachi, the city in pakistan, and they need to see him." he just took my son from me and i don't know why i was feeling scared that time, i don't know, but ijust called him again and again, but suddenly his phone was switched off.
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eventually, sonali realised her husband had been deceiving her all along. he had taken her three—month old baby and left the country. i was thinking there is no reason to live. i cry every day, every other minute. most of the time i start talking with his clothes. when i went to sleep in the night, i put his clothes with my pillow and no—one take him, because he is my son and he is sleeping here. my mother is like, "no this is not your son, this isjust his clothes." abandoned in pakistan, sonali had no clue how she would access legal help to get her son back until she came across the website of a uk based charity. if there are children involved, there are some legal remedies available, not easy,
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but there are. fortunately, that is a situation which the judiciary have woken up to, there has been case developments that allow women even if they're abandoned and abroad to bring proceedings here. southall black sisters secured a specialist family lawyer, who made the child a ward of court and arranged for sonali to return to the uk, where her case was heard in the high court. the high court has said, because it's a british national child, and the best interest of the child are a paramount that the force of the law should and could be used, so that the child could be reunited with his mother, and the husband was in effect, ordered to support her immigration application to allow her to come back to the uk. sonali has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the uk under the domestic violence act.
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it means she will not have to return to pakistan, where abandoned wives and their children are often persecuted. six weeks on, and ritu still has not found her husband. her time in london is running out, but she's found a charity that have agreed to offer her some general advice. what we want to see is a better harmonisation of law, so that a woman can be granted a divorce in one country and have it recognised in another. a woman can be granted a maintenance order in one country and have it recognised in another, but also that governments and state agencies cooperate so if a woman is denied a right by sending her to another country, she is not stuck in international limbo. ritu has finally found an address
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for her estranged husband. she decides that she wants to go there today. i don't know how vikram will react to it and i don't know how i will hold my emotions. i just want to know why my husband has abandon me from this marriage, why doesn't he let go of the relationship. so i really hope i get my answers today. this is the first time ritu will see her husband in over eighteen months and due to the sensitivity of the situation, we chose not to film it. it was... it was really sad that vikram did not even recognise me. he doesn't want to answer any of my questions. in fact, the meeting was tense and her husband called the police. i spoke to the police, they said, "you need to go to india and get this sorted." now if the police can't help me, where will i go? i was expecting that it will be worth coming here,
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but i don't think so. because if i go back to india again, i know that he will never, vikram will never return, will never come home to india to divorce me. so, i don't know when this will end. ritu's husband denied all of her claims. there are no second chances for her to speak to him in the uk. her flight back to india leaves tomorrow and she cannot afford to return. unable to secure a divorce from their british husbands, many south asian wives resign themselves to a life of injustice. a life where their chances of meeting another partner, or having a level of respect in their communities, are diminished. yet their british husbands face no such cultural barriers. they are free to continue their lives as they wish. ritu is leaving london. she is departing without securing a divorce, but with hope and faith that she will be able move forward with her life. when i was getting the blessings, you feel that inner strength in you,
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and you feel so positive, the vibrations around you and you just think, "yes, things are going to work out," and i hope with the grace of god, that ijust get what i want. hello. as was the case on saturday, i could have put any number of spheres here to encapsulate what has gone on through the course of the day. i want to highlight a couple of things as we get on into the evening. this low pressure close to the heart of the british isles, at the heart of the british isles, at the heart of it the rainfall can be quite intense and could turn quite readily to snow across parts of the midlands. further south, the wind quite noticeable, four times above the gusts 60—70 miles an hour on expose coastal hills in the south—west. as we get into the small hours of monday, so that system
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fades away, the skies clear and there could be a touch of frost in one 01’ there could be a touch of frost in one or two spots. aplenty in scotland. new cloud and rain comes into the south—west, tied in with a fast moving system which will cause real problems during the course of the day across parts of france. if you are heading that way, check on the forecast. that system eventually will pull away from the far south—west leaving a mixture of sunny spells and showers. some of the more persistent showers are likely to be found in northern and western parts of scotland. there will be a dotting the showers to the eastern side of the pennines as well. quite a bit of cloud in the first part the day. somewhat brighter in south—west scotland, northern ireland, through the western side of the midlands and down into parts of wales. it will ta ke down into parts of wales. it will take time before this area of cloud, wind and rain... a hint of wintering is across the moors of the south—west, but pulls away by about lunchtime, the rainfall breaking up into something a bit more showery.
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here we are into the afternoon. just a chance of showers coming in on the easterly and south—easterly breeze to the eastern side of scotland and england. elsewhere, some brightness around, perhaps things clouding over with more persistent rain to finish off your afternoon getting into northern ireland. many of the showers, not quite all, will die away under this ridge of high pressure to take you out of monday push shoehorn into tuesday. clearing skies may lead to a touch of frost ‘s first thing on tuesday and a dry start for many. don't be fooled by that because we have this area of cloud, wind and rain working its way to the western side of the british isles and creeping further eastwards during the course of the day. this is bbc news. the headlines at 5pm: the chancellor, phillip hammond, rejects calls for "huge spending sprees" in his first budget on wednesday. as we embark on the journey that we will be taking over the next couple of years, we are confident
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that we have enough gas in the tank to see us through thatjourney. barack 0bama's former director of national intelligence denies there were any wire—taps on president trump or his election campaign team before last year's election. there was no such wiretap activity mounted against the president elect at the time, either as a candidate 01’ at the time, either as a candidate or against his campaign. also in the next hour: francois fillon attempts to rescue his presidential bid. the centre—right french presidential candidate tells supporters at a rally in paris that he made mistakes over corruption allegations.
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