This transformative journey of Meera (name changed to maintain confidentiality) exemplifies not only the impact Saheli has on a survivor’s life but demonstrates the complexity of providing the kind of services a survivor needs to live a life free of abuse.
Every year more than 300 survivors of domestic violence come to Saheli for help carrying with them untold trauma, of abuse, abandonment, and violence. Saheli is a community based nonprofit providing free and confidential domestic violence services to South Asian and Arab survivors.
We are grateful to all of these brave survivors who have trusted us, shared their stories with us, and striven to help themselves as well as to help others and drive change. The story we share today on this page is based on real experiences but names and personally identifiable information has been redacted to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the survivor.
By telling these stories of survivors, it is the hope of Saheli to let other survivors know that it is possible to overcome the trauma of domestic violence and rebuild your life that is free of abuse.
Survivor Story – Meena (the name has been altered to protect privacy)
Meena is a beautiful young woman with a charming personality and it is hard to imagine her as a victim of domestic violence. She is educated, has a professional degree and was working in a big company in India before her marriage. She came to the US after she got married and soon after things started to sour. Her husband was abusive and controlling and would not allow her to go out of the house. She wanted to work but he would not let her. When she got pregnant, she thought things might improve but that did not happen. She struggled to hold on to her dignity, her self-respect and protect her baby even as the situation kept worsening.
One day not long after the birth of her child, a neighbor called the police to Meera’s house after hearing loud voices and crying. Since culturally the male answers the door, Meera’s husband opened the door. He convinced the police that she was the abuser and created a scenario convincing enough to obtain a restraining order against her.
The following graphic explains how Meera was helped by Saheli and her journey to empowerment.