In this episode, Gowramma, a worker at the NGO Swathi Manae, Banashankari Zone, reveals her life story to RJ Radha.
Gowramma got married at the age of 16 to her uncle, her mother’s brother. Her married life was neither happy nor prosperous. The age gap between the husband and the wife was huge and the former was also addicted to alcohol. She decided to go back to her parents after a while, but the doors to their house were not open to her anymore. So, she resigned to stay with him for some more time.
But, every day was hell. Finally, unable to take it anymore, she left him and moved in with her mother’s family with her two children. She then decided to leave for Bangalore, leaving her children with her parents.
Bangalore introduced her to a new person and she led a happy family life with him for a few days, but later, he left Gowramma. She found herself clueless about what to do next. She met another person and found some happiness again. Once, after undergoing an operation, she had to stay home for a while. By this time, she had begun working at Swathi Manae. While she was recovering, a person entered her home and raped her and she had to be taken to the police station. Swathi Manae helped her come out of the case and supported her throughout. Following this incident, she shifted her home to a different area.
Her daughter fell in love with someone at a very young age and decided to get married to him. Her life turned out to be unhappy as well and she, too, was forced to come back home with her baby. The responsibility on Gowramma’s shoulders multiplied as she was now supposed to take care of her mother, her two children as well as one grandchild.
By this time, she had met a person who had started coming home on a weekly basis to be with her. He supported her by giving her INR 5,000 or INR 10,000 per month. Gowramma was then not stepping outside her home to find clients as a sex-worker. As her daughter was very young and had a baby with her, she used to bring them with her to the office. The impact of the office environment and the financial pressures of the home encouraged Gowramma’s daughter to choose the same path as her mother.
Gowramma grew depressed at her daughter’s decision and she hopes that no other family should suffer like her’s has. Her son doesn’t know about her work and she feels scared that if and when he does, he will refuse to look at her. Gowramma’s daughter was once gang-raped by six people, but luckily, some person had helped her come back home. “Women face a lot of problems in this field of work. Most of the partners snatch the money and run away; there is no security,” she says.
As an outreach worker, Gowramma is making sure that women save some amount of money for themselves. She also provides them awareness on various topics and helps them navigate police cases.
Written by Ramya Gowda K.