Madya Pradesh, India – Newly-wed brides from India were given wooden bats by a state minister, who urge them to use it to guard themselves against potential abusive husbands.
Gopal Bhargava, who is the minister of social justice and rural development, gave the wooden paddles – which are used to get dirt out of clothes in traditional laundries – to nearly 700 brides at a mass wedding which was held at the Indian state of Madya Pradesh on Saturday.
The 15-inch paddles have a message such as “For use against drunkards” and “Police won’t intervene”.
Bhargava told the brides to reason with their husbands first; adding that they should “let the wooden paddles do the talking” if their spouses refuse to listen.
Crimes against women have increased to 34% between 2012 and 2015 according to the National Crime Records Bureau; with cruelty by husbands and relatives the most commonly reported offense.
He told AFP news that he had become concerned about the number of rural women who faced abuse from alcoholic husbands.
“Women say whenever their husbands get drunk they become violent. Their savings are taken away and splurged on liquor,” he said.
Mass weddings are offered in some countries like India to help low income couples tie the knot without having to pay for their own wedding.
Local media suggested it was a move to garner support ahead of state elections next year.
A wedding gift for the records!