This drawing is an expression of a 17-year old girl, Aarohi at My Choices Foundation’s Safe Home.
SCARED AND WITHDRAWN
Aarohi* couldn’t bring herself to talk about what happened to her when our Safe home social worker met her. She was dressed as a boy and refused to identify herself as a girl due to the constant fear of abuse.
Her eyes were filled with fear and her scars ran deep – she was constantly sexually abused and molested by her family members. She was too young to understand the complexity of the kind of violence when she experienced it for the first time. She felt utterly powerless and the constant abuse forced her to run away from home. Police found her at Hyderabad (in South India) railway station one early morning and approached My Choices Foundation for help.
FEELS VALUED AND LIBERATED
Her journey of recovery at our Safe Home was long and challenging. After concerted efforts from our counsellors, she listened. Coping mechanisms taught during the counseling sessions helped her to come out of the garb as a boy – she felt liberated to be called herself as a young girl. We continued to work with her through intensive counseling sessions and one day, she opened up. She spoke. She cried relentlessly. She started to express herself through art.
But the deep-rooted cultural, societal and gender norms made her feel unclean. We adopted positive interventions to build her self-worth and self-esteem.
- Guidance worksheets to understand self-worth
- Healthy emotional expressions
- Sessions on safe and unsafe touch
- Laws against child abuse
- Overcoming trauma and strengthening mental health
- Currency notes activity (INR 100 note doesn’t lose its value though it is crushed and similarly, her value hasn’t changed or diminished because of the abuse)
Aarohi boldly testified against her family to get the justice she deserves.
She continues to outpour her emotions through creative expression – but with bold and bright colours. She still receives counseling and finds our Safe Home as a safe space where she is heard and felt.
Aarohi’s drawing on her experience living at our Safe Home.
BE PART OF THE JOURNEY
Aarohi raised her voice for justice. She inspires us. She leads a new life because of your actions and donations.
On this International Day of the Girl, would you like to support girls like Aarohi, please click here.
*Name changed for protecting the identity of a young girl