A Toronto man and his parents have been on trial this week after pleading guilty to multiple charges stemming from an arranged marriage that ended within three months. The man pleaded not guilty to ten counts of sexual assault, three counts of assault, and one count of uttering threats. His father pleaded not guilty to uttering threats, and his mother pleaded not guilty to uttering threats and assault, twice telling the court about the allegations against her: “this is a lie”.

What Happened?

The couple met on Shaadi.com, an online matchmaking service based in India, which claims to have “redefined the way Indian brides and grooms meet for marriage”.

At the time of their online meeting, the woman was living with her parents in a different province, and the man was living with his parents in Toronto. The man contacted the woman’s father and invited them to Toronto. The couple’s first (and only) meeting lasted no more than 15 minutes. After this brief encounter, the man asked the woman to marry him, and the couple exchanged gifts, signaling their engagement.

The couple eventually married in April 2015 in a small ceremony.

The Alleged Sexual Assault and Other Abuses

The woman testified, via translator, painting a vivid picture of how her short marriage had rapidly deteriorated from bad to worse. She claimed that the problems began on the wedding night, when her husband forced her to have painful sex. This initial sexual assault escalated into numerous other instances of such assault, as well as violence, threats, and verbal abuse from the husband and his parents, with whom the couple lived.

The woman told the court that after the couple’s wedding ceremony they returned to the man’s parents’ home. Upon arrival, the man told her he wanted to have sex, pushed her onto his bed, and removed her clothes. The woman testified that she told him that she didn’t want to have sex, but he held down her arms, opened her legs, and proceeded to have intercourse with her. She told the court that the incident was painful and that she later sat through dinner with his parents not being able to walk or sit properly.

On that same evening, the couple went to the store for groceries, and when they returned home he began squeezing her breasts forcefully and penetrated her again, although she again told him no. When she told him that she was in pain, she claims that he responded with “don’t worry, let the pain happen”.

A week after their wedding, the couple went to Niagara Falls for a honeymoon, where the man again forced her to have sex despite her telling him no, and despite the fact that she was suffering from menstrual cramps and was in pain.

The woman claims that, until she moved out of the home, the man insisted on sex every day, and often more than once or twice a day.

The In-Laws

The woman also described to the court the escalating tensions and verbal abuse she experienced at the hands of her in-laws. She says this began shortly after the couple’s first meeting, after which the man’s mother called her and told her that the couple should only speak on the phone before they were married. She says that during her time living with her in-laws she was told when and what to eat, and ordered not to dress “like a call-girl”.

She also told the court that her in-laws would always take the side of the man, who was frustrated and angry whenever she did not want to have sex with him. She noted that on one occasion her mother-in-law slapped her across the face and lectured her about not “obeying” her son’s demands. She testified that her father-in-law was equally abusive, and that he seemed unhappy with her as “marriage material” for his son. She told the court that she overheard her father-in-law tell someone that “she has made everything filthy” and that he threatened to “hang” members of her family.

Nobody should suffer physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their spouse. If you are being abused and feel unsafe, get yourself to a safe location. Call the police or the Assaulted Women’s Hotline. Once you are safe, contact a family lawyer.

To speak with an experienced Windsor lawyer about divorce or other family-related issues, contact Jason P. Howie.  Jason is certified as a Specialist in Family Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada and his experience and success practicing family law has earned him respect and distinction in the legal communities of Windsor and Essex County.  Jason will customize an approach to meet your specific needs. To speak with an experienced Windsor lawyer about your family law issue, call 519.973.1500 or contact us online.