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  • Writer's pictureRashmi Anand

Why We Do What We Do

When you have been through grief and sorrow, you want that no-one else should suffer. When you have touched the depths of despair, and have somehow managed to pull yourself out, you want to hold out your hand to everyone undergoing pain, and pull them out of it too. You become acutely aware of the pain of another. And all you want to do is share your strength. I do.

I have been through 10 years of grief and sorrow – 10 years of domestic violence. 10 years of suffering in silence, and wearing Chinese collars and full sleeves even in the height of Delhi summers. 10 years of keeping a smile on my face and not letting anyone know what was happening to me.

Seeing the violence inflicted on me, my brilliant daughter had become quiet and withdrawn, and my little son had stopped speaking, It was at the age of 35 that I walked out of hell.

Today, I counsel women undergoing violence and have counseled hundreds of Women at the Crime against Women Cell at Nanakpura, at Lawyer’s Collective, at Dr Kiran Bedi’s NGO Safer India and at a personal level too. Women undergoing trauma mostly just want to be heard – they just want to cry, to offload their sorrow for the time-being… they simply want someone to listen to them, someone to understand what they are going through. Most of them do not tell anyone, they hide behind the shroud of secrecy - feeling, and being made to feel, that somehow this is their shame, their fault. It is not.

I run a Trust, the Woman of the Elements Trust, which provides free legal aid to women and child victims of violence – all who are below the earning capacity of Rs. 5000. It is a registered Trust and all donations are eligible for 50% tax exemption under section 80G of Income Tax Act 1961. All help for this initiative is welcome. I need all the resources possible to continue this venture: compassion, time, effort and funds. Please join me in this endeavour.

Those who care for me often tell me, “Move on”, “Move away from this cause of Domestic Violence”, “Why do you constantly listen to the pain of others, and go through your own pain again and again?”

And my answer is always the same. I have moved on. My life is so different now – I have peace and balance. My children are doing well, and I love writing my books. I have wonderful people in my life - those who love me, whom I love dearly. My children and my books, my friends and family - these are my joy. But I never want to forget – not even for a moment. For then I will never feel with the woman in front of me.

I never want to forget. For when I remember my own pain I will ever know what she is going through. For then when she cries, I will cry with her, and be able to say, “Look at me. I know this pain. I’ve been there, and I’ve come through. If I did, anyone can. You can.”

I know what it is to live in hell. I came out with my life, my children, and my sanity. I was one of the lucky few. Having come through, I have the responsibility to share the strength, courage, positivity and the sheer hope for the future that I have today. And I do.

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