Five years ago, I googled 'women and violence' in a particular state of mind I was in and found World Pulse. Little did I know that down these many years one day I will be writing my introduction in this group to tell about my story with violence toother womenin different corners of the world that World Pulse helps connect. If this is destiny( of finding respite in this wonderful family of supporters, friends and sisters all united by the desire to connect, listen and help), I wish the same destiny to every woman who has lived with violence in her life and has either walked away or is battling with that possibility.
I lived eight long years in an abusive marriage to a man who made me believe every time he hit me, that, he had a problem and he needed me to overcome it. I had known him all my life and I believed him and I was hopeful he would change. The reasons of his hitting me changed over the years and so did the frequency, the extent of physical damage to my body parts and the diminishing trend of apologising. I reached one stage where no apologies and justifications would come my way and everyone in the household would go about doing things ordinarily except for me. They had gotten used to my forgiveness and life going on.
The most humilitaing thing about being beaten, kicked, slapped, pushed or punched is the blow you get physically and your own inability to defend yourself or even hit back. It teaches you that there is some kind of inequality- either you love him more than he loves you so you just can't get to hit him in self protection or you are weak physically to defend yourself. Both these feelings are not good. I still don't know what is the reason why I just accepted to receive that hurt and injury. Had a good mind left me?
One day I just walked out of the door, carrying my three year old daughter. When I walked out, I had a t-shirt on my back and a pair of old jeans and Rs 800 in my wallet.I walked in a daze and till I got into the interstate bus all the way to my parent's home which was like a little under 1000 kilometres, I had no sensation. I didn't feel scared, sad, angry, anxious, cold, hot, hungry-nothing at all. I just sat with my daughter in the window seat. It was when I reached my hometown, the first tear wet my cheeks.
I was home.
That day was eight years back. It is surprising how I can still go back to that day and feel the same feeling I did back then. Only that this time I am not the same woman. I am not the same person. I will not accept just receiving. I will ask questions and correct the wrong. I will challenge what is my right and chase my dignity. I will go back and open the same door I walked out through.I am going back to resolve the terrors of my mind I have not been able to resolve. I believe it is the right time for me to do it.
I am here to join this group on World Pulse to connect and share with sisters around the world who have seen violence in their lives and I KNOW together we will heal, resolve, draft solutions for others so that they never have to go through this again.This is my first step to meet myself of eight years ago.
I am sorry I forgot to tell you my name.
I am Urmila Chanam. A domestic violence survivor.