Content Warning: Addresses issues of sexual assault
Nandini, being the only girl in her large family, became a sex worker to provide for them. This is common in the area they live in -Mandsaur district, Madhya Pradesh - as the community lives in extreme poverty. Every day she would meet new clients, but one kept coming back to her and promising her a better life.
Desperate, she made plans to run away with him from home. He had said she could get an education and they would be married. Nandini trusted him and,without telling her family, they fled.
As soon as she was away from home, the abuse began. He sexually and emotionally assaulted her and the idea of their marriage was completely dismissed, leaving her distraught and betrayed. Meanwhile, her parents contacted the local police and filed her as a missing person, a month after she had run away.
Nandini decided she had to find a way to return to her family. She knew being alone would make her vulnerable but she was desperate to escape. Despite getting free, on her journey back she was victim to many horrific attacks and subsequently ended up in a mental institution in Mumbai. Her family were notified and were relieved to know she was alive.
Our project, The Maitri Network, supports women survivors of sexual violence. They approached Nandini and her family and offered to provide professional mental health treatment and legal counsel. At first, Nandini didn’t feel strong enough to take legal action, but she was benefiting greatly from the therapy, which helped her to heal the trauma of the events that had taken place.
Now, there has been a drastic change in her mental health and self-confidence. She is reported to be fearless and will soon appear in court against severa lof her perpetrators.
Thanks to you, survivors can heal their trauma and be supported to take legal action to see justice.