Nithya Caleb thought her husband was just “a typical Indian man.” Though she faced consistent problems with him soon after they got married in Chennai in 2007, “I never looked at it as abuse.” But after a decade of emotional abuse, Nithya finally decided to leave her husband last year. Now, as she faces two legal battles against her husband, she has launched an online campaign to raise funds to support her legal expenses.
“Violence is so much normalised in our society,” Nithya, 37, told TNM in an interview on Tuesday.
In 2013, Nithya, her husband and their son moved from Chennai to Toronto. Away from friends and family, it was the first time Nithya saw her marriage with a new kind of clarity and realised she needed to take care of herself. “When you’re alone, you’re forced to take a hard look at yourself,” she said.
The domestic harassment at the hands of her husband had worsened over the course of their marriage. When she finally summoned the courage to tell him that she wanted to end their marriage, he allegedly sexually assaulted her. She did not wish to go into the details of the assault.
Nithya, a magazine editor, is legally separated from her husband, and is currently involved in two court cases. “I have pressed charges against my assaulter and am ready to testify in the criminal court. The bar of evidence is high in these cases. I need to hire a lawyer who can represent me and prepare me for trial. I’m also fighting in the family court for sole custody of my child,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page.
She is seeking to raise $25,000 Canadian dollars to cover her extensive legal expenses, which includes the fees for two lawyers. (The average hourly cost for a lawyer can amount to $350), she noted.
“By paying for my legal fee, you will be empowering me, helping me get justice, saving my son from abuse, and ultimately, helping us heal and move forward,” she wrote online.