In her words: Aasia’s journey to dignity

My name is Aasia*. I was being sexually abused from my childhood by my relatives. After my parents’ death, my aunt took me into her house. I was only four or five years old. Almost every night my uncle used to come in my bed and touched my private parts. At that time I did not understand anything. I also did not share anything with my aunt. When I became nine or ten years old, I came to Dhaka to work as a house helper. Wherever I went, my bad luck followed me. Everywhere I was sexually harassed by men. The house owner where I worked abused me sexually. I became pregnant with him. I was only in my early teens when I got pregnant. I could not share with anyone about my pregnancy. I ran away from that house and took shelter in the graveyard. A woman approached me to ask why I was crying. She took me into her house and sold me to a brothel. There I gave birth to my first born child. I gave my daughter away to a centre. Nobody knows about my daughter.

 

I met my husband in the brothel. He was one of my clients. We got married and left the brothel and went to my mother in-law’s house. My mother in-law always hurt me emotionally due to my past life. Again I had to run away from my mother in-law’s house with my one month old boy. I came back to Dhaka and rented a house near graveyard. I earned money by being in prostitution.

 

I came to know about Children’s Uplift Programme (CUP) through one of my neighbors. She took me to CUP. When my husband heard that I was earning money he came back to live with me. But he also married another woman. He did not behave well with me and physically abused me. Whenever we had arguments or he fought with me, he would leave the house for several months. He did not provide anything for my son. Now I have decided to leave him. He is not living with me anymore.

 

I am working hard to earn my living. In my past life I also worked hard but there was no dignity. Now I have dignity in my life. I have found security. No man is harassing me. I can share my burdens with others. I want to have a settled, dignified life so I have joined Basha Enterprises. I believe God will bless my work, and one day my son will wipe away my tears.

 

*name changed

 

“It’s amazing how a little tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.” -John Guare, Landscape of the Body

  • Dignified work