Sheela* always has a smile on her face but today she said “I have only seen tears in my life”. Sheela came to Delhi more than three years ago to find work as domestic help and got connected with a placement agent. After she had worked for a few years, he started taking her to his office place, saying he would take her to visit her family. Instead he raped her. This happened 5 or 6 times and as a result she became pregnant. This man had also done this to other girls who came to the placement agency.
Sheela has had no childhood and has seen such tough things. She has worked since she was 12 years old, and she reflects that girls in her village were not allowed to play anymore at that age. She further says that as far back as she remembers, no one has really stood up for her. Hearing her express how she wants to fight for justice reminds me the importance of our work; to be a resource for this young woman who wants to fight, when otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to.
I have gotten to know this young woman who is determined and confident despite the things she has been through. More and more she has opened up. Before she only wanted to do domestic work. Now she expresses ambitions to go into the hotel service industry.
We still have a long way to go, but Sheela has the maturity and the will to move forward with her life. We'll walk together in that process so she has a chance to experience justice and heal from her abuse.
- Shohini Banerjee, social worker
* Name changed to protect identity