her body black and blue
looking so tramatized
husband to Russia for work, maybe for years
sends no money as promised
marries, has second family in Russia
comes back, unannounced, moves in, beatings restart
"we're going to a party" husband said. A trick, takes her to empty apt & rapes her
marriage arranged-does not love her
beautiful wife & 4 children but girlfriends on the side
friends to husband, "beat her, show her who is boss."
beatings, beatings, more beatings
1 in 3 women experience domestic violence.
This is their reality.
How could we help? We could not fix their problems. Thankfully our NGO friends were there to encourage and help. But we could facilitate having them tell their stories in safe, small groups.
There is something theraputic about working out your story in a tangible way. Our groups of women made story ropes, telling their stories sequentially with ribbons (colors carefully chosen) & tied to a narrow band of 'atlas', their ethnic fabric.
An important part of the process came next - telling their stories. BUT only if they wanted. There was much understanding & support as they took turns sharing - touching each colored ribbon, telling the part of their story it represented.
At the end of each session there were smiles and glowing faces.
One young mom looked at me directly in the eyes and said,
"I will never forget this day."