Hello bloggers and other internet people!
Yes I know my apologies for not writing are becoming repetitive but I’m sorry! So here is a pictorial update/explanation of why I was silent.
Andres and I went back to Sri Lanka in December and we got married!!!! It was the most incredible and magical day!
Standing there at our alter I found myself incredibly overwhelmed by how blessed I felt to have met and married the kind of person who understands, appreciates and inspires me everyday. I couldn’t help but smile at my family who have consistently and constantly shown me unconditional love and patience. I couldn’t help but be proud of myself for having acquired gem like friends who turned up to celebrate this day with us. It was a magical day not only because I felt like a princess but because I realised how truly lucky I am to belong to have the kind of tribe I do.
After our wonderful wedding day, we travelled around Sri Lanka which was AMAZING – and I will do a sort of travel blog post about it next. it was hard to come back to Australia but hey got to face reality sooner or later don’t we? Anyway, now I am back and ready take on the new year 😀
While I have always been interested in helping others and making a difference, my dedication to working with vulnerable women could be traced back to one poignant moment that happened not too long ago.
When I heard this story, it broke me – it made me cry for days because this is just one of many women in desperate need of support and protection.
I was talking to her about why she always seemed tired and sick and whether she had access to proper medical care. She started off with “Miss, you know it’s just that since I got married I haven’t been sleeping very much.” (I braced myself to hear some sort of ‘newlywed-honeymoon-phase story) However what she told me was just something out of a horror story.
She went on to tell me that indeed sex was the reason she was tired all the time – her husband would come home drunk and demand that they have sex. But sex to him was different. Sex to him was grabbing any object that he could lay his hands on and using that to penetrate his 19 year old wife. Sex meant brooms,bottles, tools,sticks…literally anything. Sex also meant inviting his friends (bunch of 30+ year old men) over to their house and let them “play” with his wife while he watched. Most nights I just close my eyes and pray they will pass out soon.
This is her life. Everyday.
Why didn’t she ask her parents for help? Because when she was younger she was raped by her father’s friend and when she told her mother about this, her mother’s response was ‘it must be your fault.’
Why doesn’t she run away? But where would she go though? Who would she turn to? What would they do to protect her?
This is her life. It shouldn’t be, but it is.
Over the past year, I have been quite invested in working with women in vulnerable circumstances. Their stories, their hardships, their strength and resilience have shattered my reality and changed my entire perspective on life.
One of the reasons I was interested in blogging (aside from my personal struggles with expression) was to be have an outlet to share some of my experiences with the aim of reaching out to people with the aim of starting a conversation about what could be done (I am still finding my way around working to empower women and it would be amazing to connect with like-minded people).
*I have modified a few identifying details
Anyway, here is one story.
I met a woman who had to migrate because her husband got a job in another country. Although she was a qualified professional in her home country, because of language difficulties and the job market being an overall terrible mess she has been unable to find work in her field. She told me that her husband, daughter and mother-in-law like to point out the fact that she does not provide for her family (I want to say bully – but I am trying to tell you the story as she told me so I will bite my tongue). In order to gain some sort of financial independence, she taught herself crafts to sell. She told me that it is getting harder and harder for her to attend markets because of pressure from home. (I was confused.) She told me that her husband and daughter don’t appreciate having to “walk into the kitchen and heat their food” and that they “prefer to have freshly prepared food and not food that has been in the fridge” (note: she cooks everyday and stores in the fridge). When I asked her if she would like to attend a camp that is aimed at helping women develop their business and communication skills; she told me that she would have to ask permission from her daughter.
Her responses broke my heart, mostly because she was smiling the whole time. I think she doesn’t realise how incredible she is.
While I was on break from university, I remember having the strangest chat with my dad who kind of insinuated that it was time I found myself a nice Buddhist Medical student to hang out with (there was even talk of me hanging out around the Medical School to suss out a suitable candidate, because that’s how everyone meets the love of the life). So it’s safe to say that five years ago when I floated the idea that I may possibly end up spending the rest of my life with a ‘white boy’ the news was not greeted well at all. There was a lot of talk about traditions, religion and of course a lot of stress about society. We had so many heated arguments about what shacking up with a ‘foreigner’ could do to my reputation, how it will never work out because we are too different and he would NEVER understand nor value our traditions and, the mother of them all, WHAT WILL EVERY ONE ELSE SAY! I remember feeling suffocated with all this talk about caste,class and status and wanting to scream out loud ‘WELL ALRIGHT THEN I’LL JUST GO AND MARRY MY COUSIN!’ Continue reading