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 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….