The powerful statement one woman made by canceling her own wedding

We’ve all seen our fair share of wedding posts from love-struck newlywed friends. Some extra adorable or moving ones even take over the Internet, especially if dancing is involved. But today a wedding post is going viral for a totally unique and powerful reason — and it has us cheering.

Remya Ramachandran, a bride-to-be from Thrissur, Kerala in India, made this bold Facebook status after her would-be in-laws demanded a dowry from her (thanks to Buzzfeed for the English translation):

Remya’s decision to cancel her wedding has garnered worldwide attention and plenty of praise on social media.

Dowry exchanges (called “the bride price” by some) have been outlawed in India since the 1960’s. Originally the tradition was meant for a bride to carry some money or property into marriage for her new family. But the practice eventually became an excuse for the groom’s family to bribe and extort for their own gain. Even though the Indian government said “forget about it” several decades ago, the practice persists in many areas.

Remya’s decision, and the solidarity she’s received because of it, is proof that one individual can raise global awareness about issues of inequality. She is, in her own way, fighting back against a cultural tradition which has led to oppression and, in some cases, violence against girls and women. According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, 8,233 young women were killed in so-called ‘dowry deaths’ in 2012, after their families could not afford to keep up regular dowry payments.

“Grave violence is being committed against young women in their matrimonial homes and the low conviction rate shows the legal system is not geared up to investigate and prosecute these cases,” human rights lawyer, Vrinda Grover, told the Telegraph in 2013.

Remya’s brave stance is, in effect, raising awareness about this issue—but, as she pointed out in a follow up post, it’s not intended to attack or hurt her former in-laws, or any other person. She asks her followers not to use her story “for personalized humiliation,” but rather to use it against our social norms.”

We’re applauding Remya for standing up for her rights—and speaking out on behalf of so many other women—in such an effective and compassionate way.

(Featured image via Facebook)

Debbie Holloway
Debbie Holloway lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works closely with Narrative Muse, a fast-growing source for movies, TV, and books created by and about women and gender diverse folks. Read more