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Latha's Story

The initial stages of Latha's marriage to an ex-army person were happy and healthy. Things changed when she gave birth to a baby which the husband had expected to give to his barren sister. Latha's refusal resulted in physical abuse and torture. Her husband threw a burning lantern on her which completely burnt and disfigured her face and upper body beyond recognition. She almost died of her injuries, however after six months of treatment at the Burn Unit of the National Hospital, she survived. She also suffered from suicidal tendencies and extreme mental trauma. During her months of treatment, her husband had given away the child. Latha was recommended to WIN where she was given essential psychological counselling, medical support and shelter provision to overcome her trauma and regain a sense of self-worth. WIN also provided legal assistance, through court representation and juvenile court of custody, and obtained the guardianship of the child.

 

Surangani's Story

Surangani had a bad marriage that broke her emotionally and physically. For 15 long years she put up with an abusive, unemployed husband. Financial difficulties drove her to find employment in the Middle East. While she was away, her husband had sexually assaulted her cancer-stricken mother and given their 13-year old daughter in marriage. She returned soon after, and from the many attempts of sexual abuse, became pregnant and had to flee her husband for the safety of her unborn baby. He traced her to their daughter's house, and physically attacked her, which resulted in Surangani losing her right hand completely, and severely damaging her other hand. Eight-month pregnant Surangani approached WIN for help. She was emotionally scarred and physically disabled. Surangani was housed at one of WIN's shelters; her new born child was looked after at the shelter as well. She was counselled, legally and financially supported, and provided with medical care till she regained strength, independence and self-worth.

 

A letter from Rasika

– the story of her life.

I was working as an attendant at the Sri Lanka National Hospital When I met my husband for the first time and I got married to him in year 2000.

I've been married 11 years now, and have a daughter of 9 years. My husband was slightly alcoholic at the beginning, but it was bearable. However, things got worse with time. He would come home drunk late every night, and harass me. I'd have to listen to all he has to say or else he'd drag me by my hair and beat me up. He has never given me money for my expenses. He has neither spent for our daughter's needs.

Unable to bear this any longer I left the house with my daughter, and went to reside with my mother. He wasn't tolerated there. But one day, he got hold of me at my workplace and mercilessly beat me up. This is when I made a complaint to the Women In Need Desk at the

Hospital. In the meantime, my husband had become a burden on his family as well, and they had arranged for him to go abroad. The 3 years that he was away from my daughter and me were the most peaceful years of my marital life, even though he didn't send a penny for our existence. The 3 years passed and he was back in our lives. I was proven wrong to have thought that he'd have changed. The violent and vicious cycle started all over again. The visits to my work place became frequent. He demanded for money, and brutally assaulted me if I had no money to give him. My daughter would shake in fear at the sight of her father. She witnessed the violence every night. I had made a number of complaints to the police with no avail. It was when he visited our daughter's school, drunk and out of his mind,

that I decided- This had to stop.

I finally picked up the courage to seek the help of Women In Need.

A year and a half since the divorce, my daughter and I have felt so much safer and happier. I have also been a part of the Support Group Programme by WIN which has truly changed my life.

 

A letter from Rani

– Rani's achievement .

I'm Rani and this is my story….
“I had four children. My two older children, a girl and a boy were washed away by the tsunami. To add to my sadness of losing two children, I was subject to constant beatings from my husband, who is in the fishing trade. I was in hiding most of the time in a relative's house with my younger two children for over 8 years.
I went to the police station over 20 times to lodge complaints and to try and resolve my problems. The police mediated and sent me back saying ‘after all he is your husband'. On the last occasion, when I went to the Police Station to complain, they referred me to WIN's Weligama police counseling desk and to a WIN counselor. This time they saw my injuries, and understood why I could not go back. I was taken to WIN's Matara shelter, for safety and further counseling. Later I got transferred to WIN's Colombo shelter, as my husband kept following me when I went to hospital for treatment.
I was counselled and supported for over a year by the WIN counselors, who were kind and very understanding. The lawyers at WIN eventually succeeded in obtaining a protection order against my husband after several hearings. My 12-year old daughter could not continue her studies and did not feel safe at home. So she stayed with me at the shelter for one month. Subsequently WIN managed to place her in a home, to continue her studies. For my one year in WIN's safe space, I was introduced to WIN's skills project in Colombo, where I learnt a skill in manufacturing recycled paper and products.
Weekly I learnt new things; I could feel a difference in myself. I made new friends, women just like me, who had come to WIN for help. I learnt of their difficulties and life stories, such as mine. I felt more confident to bring out my ides and thoughts as time went by. I sought assistance from them every step of the way as I learnt that it was me who had to be strong. I felt proud of the wage I earned daily through my hard work. I felt proud of being able to shower my daughter with a few sweets and gifts whenever I got the opportunity to see her. I felt empowered and free, the ‘Me', I had forgotten existed. My life had changed….


After one year, I returned home, but WIN continued to counsel and support not only me but my husband, who promised not to beat me but be good to me. Today my husband, my son and I live together and my husband supports the family. I am now self-employed contributing to the family home, through the skills i learnt whilst I was at the WIN shelter. This is my story. I am where I am today, thanks to WIN. It is women such as my self who will always appreciate and value all that WIN has done for us and our children in a time where our worlds had fallen apart, when we were nothing, we had no self worth or reason for sometimes even out own lives. WIN's dedication has helped me, to be where i am today, and helped me achieve that dream of a peaceful and nurturing home environment for my children
and my family”.
– Rani, Matara