True Justice as Restoration: Tara and Lekha's Story

lekha_resized.jpgFrom April 6-30, we're telling stories of women and children we help to show what True Justice looks like. We hope to raise $50,000 to help more women and girls like Tara and Lekha.

Tara* moved to Delhi from her village as a newly married teenager. The bustling city thrilled but scared her. Tara’s husband, an auto driver, said the streets are not safe for women to venture alone and that she should not shop or run errands without him, so she remained content in her small corner of the neighbourhood.

Soon Tara became pregnant and enjoyed staying home with her baby, Lekha*. Ten years and two babies later, Tara found herself trapped inside her own home in a spiralling cycle of violence.

When Tara’s parents would knock on the door, she wasn’t allowed to answer unless her husband consented. If he discovered Tara had talked to the neighbours, he would beat her.

True justice requires a restoration of a victim’s security, independence and dignity.  Counsel to Secure Justice works to empower abused children and their families to repair harm that’s resulted from sexual abuse and support them along a path of healing.

Occasionally Tara’s family would walk to a temple together, and she began internalizing the route that passed a police station. Still, she didn’t report her husband, fearing what would happen to her children’s futures without his income.

When Tara’s 10-year-old daughter Lekha revealed her father had been removing her clothes and touching her private parts, Tara immediately filed a police report. The police quickly arrested Lekha’s father and the judge denied him bail. CSJ is advocating Lekha’s case in court.

When CSJ social worker Nikita met Lekha and Tara, the family could not afford basic food items like rice. Tara struggled to find work as an illiterate and unskilled labourer with young children to look after. She had never worked outside the home or visited a bank.

“At one point I was very disappointed and wanted to take back the case,” Tara said. “But then I met Nikita and I felt that I could do this. I felt there’s someone I can reach out to.”

Nikita helped Tara and Lekha to start repairing their lives after the abuse they suffered.  She set up a bank account and applied for compensation and a food ration card from the government. Tara’s parents moved to Delhi to help support her financially and emotionally. She found a job at a construction site near her home, and her children are attending school.

“I like my life now,” Tara said. “Even if I can’t have luxuries like fruit, even if I can only afford one dry chapatti a day, I’m happy. We have a peaceful life.”

To help more women and children like Tara and Lekha, donate to the True Justice campaign today.

*Name changed to protect identity.

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