Helping Hand

P323

A survivor’s story

I was in America less than three years and was filling up the pages in my diary with my secret tortured life. At the age thirty-five, I left my own business in India and came here to join this new family with many dreams. But in this house I was treated as a slave. I was expected to serve my husband, mother-in-law and teenager stepson with the preset rules of when, where, how and which way.  I kept on doing all that happily, from 5am to 10pm, with the longing that my husband shows some care for me. I was called stupid because my English was not good and I was humble. I was not allowed to know any thing about household finances or his income. I was giving him all my earnings and in return I was given a small allowance.  The verbal abuse was constant from husband and mother-in-law. My diary was soaked with my lonely tears.

All the people I knew were my husband’s friends and relatives. Whom can I tell and who will believe me?  I cannot write to my family in India because, my in-laws were extremely sensitive about their reputation in the society. My husband moved out of our bedroom and told lies to his mother and to the casual so called friends. My Ex and his mother started telling me to “pack your bag and get lost”.  They wanted me to leave penniless and humiliated so they can look good in the society. He threatened me with legal consequences.

Finally, I mustered up my courage and talked to one of his friends, who is a Domestic Violence Volunteer. First, I told her very little and waited for her reaction. After a few days I felt that I could trust her. Once I had her support, my self-confidence and strength slowly came back. I had to relearn to be strong. My advocate was my lifesaver. I no longer felt helpless. The Organization helped me with the lawyer’s fees and my advocate spent countless hours with me and accompanied me to get through the legal and emotional web. I moved out of that house with good settlement, with good friends and with dignity. I cannot imagine where I would have been without their help. My mentor Saryu, expressed my feelings in her poem.

A Survivor
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Working with the victims of domestic violance,poems like this has been written. –Saryu Parikh

E=MC2_HARMONYpainting by Dilip Parikh

helping hand

Sis, I accepted strangers as my own
My heart was full of hopes and dreams
I came, trusting the thread of love

I enjoyed the bliss of a marriage of choice

He was the center of my universe
He falsely earned my inner trust
He was the purpose of my breath
Now only misery, crying and wrath

That tender string broke in the midst
Couldn’t mend with a timely stitch
Left me feeling horrid and helpless
My life is mere and meaningless!

Let the tears flow today, due to a sorry sudden drench
But my soul’s lamp will shine again, with a brighter inner strength

I promise to restore my lost respect
With  your care and    kind   intent
With  your helping smile, I consent

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