GUWAHATI, Nov 19 - Despite the Central and State governments� big talks on women empowerment, a tribal woman in Kamrup (Metro) district remains clueless on how to take forward her own life.
She was a victim of domestic violence and sexually assaulted by her father-in-law. The woman is around 22 years old and got married a few months ago.
According to the victim, who is now staying at Swadhar Shelter Home here, run by the Global Organisation for Life Development (GOLD), after six months of marriage, her husband left for Kerala in search of livelihood and kept her with the father-in-law and two brothers-in-law, and since then she had become the target of her father-in-law.
After facing such a horrible situation, one night she tried to run away from the house, but the father-in-law caught her and attacked her brutally with a machete.
In that incident, she sustained multiple injuries in different parts of her body and also lost three fingers. She was immediately taken to the hospital with the help of local people. The police arrested the father-in-law later, who is now in jail.
Unfortunately, in such a tragic situation, one so-called NGO approached the victim�s family and assured rehabilitation of the woman. But for rehabilitation, the NGO asked the family to pay Rs 65,000. According to a source, after persuading repeatedly by the NGO members, the victim�s family paid the amount in presence of the village head. But the NGO did not take any step for the rehabilitation of the woman, rather they handed her over to Swadhar Shelter Home.
Explaining her story during a conversation with The Assam Tribune, the victim said, �I was brutally attacked by my father-in-law because I was not ready to compromise with my dignity. The incident made me physically disabled. Such inabilities make me feel ashamed in front of the other members of Swadhar Shelter Home. So, I want to go back to my parental house.�
�At the initial stage, her condition was very critical. Due to multiple injuries, she could not even walk properly. But in the past eleven months, she has improved a lot. We are giving counselling to her so that she can get her normal life back. A few days ago, she took part in a one-act play performed by the inmates of the Home,� an employee of the NGO told The Assam Tribune.
As the woman expressed her desire to return to her parental home, her family refused to take her back as they have already paid an amount for her rehabilitation.
Illusmita Konwar from One-Stop Centre, Guwahati, who visited the family, said, �The family clearly stated that the NGO members while taking the money assured the former of rehabilitating the woman for the lifetime. For which, they have signed some official papers having stamps of the local village head. After the visit, we asked the village head to lodge a police complaint. We came to know that a case was registered in connection with the incident. The family is very poor and they have sold their land to pay the amount. Now, her future seems very uncertain.�
Nilakshi Sarma of 181-women helpline centre said, �Food and shelter do not mean rehabilitation for the lifetime. Now, it is time to make her independent economically and mentally. We will be happy if someone comes forward with some creative ideas to give her a new life.�
Informing about their plan about the woman, Dr Rajeeb Sarma of GOLD said, �The woman is still in trauma. So, first of all, she needs proper treatment. We will also try to train her with some livelihood skills.�