I come from a broken family

Date: November 22, 2012
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Written by *Rani

“I come from a broken home and after the separation my mother got married to another man. I was a burden for both of them and was sent to my nani (grandmother). My poor nani lived in a small house made of old sheets of corrugated iron.

We hardly had any food to eat. When I turned nine years old my nani sold me to an old man. The first night it really hurt but I did not even know what that old man was doing to me. This torture went on for three long years on every single night. When the old man came to my nani’shouse, my nani left the house and I was on my own with the old man. The next morning I would go to school as if all was normal but I was suffering a lot inside.

One day I said to myself that this could not be normal and I had to tell somebody about what was happening to me. I walked to my neighbour’s house and told her that I could no longer live with my naniand asked her for shelter. She started questioning me and very slowly I told her the full story on how I was sold to a man and what this man was doing to me every night. Without hesitating she took me to the police who opened a full enquiry. My nani did not deny that she sold me. She said that she was so poor she had no other means to survive and needed the money so that she could feed me. She was released on bail and I really do not know what has happened neither to her nor to the old man since.

The Police contacted the Child Development Unit and they placed me in a shelter.

I am now 18 years old and I can say my life has changed completely since I have joined the shelter. After my primary and secondary education the shelter sent me for extra curricula activities. I have even followed courses in drama and dancing. I participate in all activities of the Shelter be it at the shelter itself or outside on special events, for example, International Women’s Day or International Family Day.

Although I know I was sold by my own nani, I have come to terms with this and myself due to the psychological and emotional support that I receive from the shelter. I am well surrounded in a convivial environment. I have found my happiness in the shelter. But like any young woman I have my own aspirations and would like to get a proper job and fly by own wings.”

Rani’s* story shows how her family’s socio-economic status exposed her to abuse. It would be easy to condemn Rani’s grandmother, but it is necessary to understand the underlying factors. Prevention, as the old adage goes, is always better than cure.

*Not her real name.
This story is a personal account and has also been used in War@Home Gender Based Violence Indicators Study Mauritius Country Report by Gender Links.



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