Bangladeshi rape survivor writes book to fight horrors

Untold sufferings and horrifying experiences of a Bangladeshi woman, who was raped and tortured in Kerala during her search for job, has led her to the world of letters and colours in God’s own country. The 34-year-old woman, who was forced into the flesh trade in Kozhikode a few months ago, has come out with a book, comprising poems, a short story and paintings throwing light into the painful days of her life.

A mother of three, she had come to Kerala in search of job some months back for providing a better future for her children. However, she fell into the hands of sex racketeers in the city and was raped. She later managed to escape and sought shelter in a state-run shelter home.

The scribblings and sketches by the woman were found by volunteers of ‘Arm of Joy’, a Kozhikode-based NGO which works for destitutes. Titled as “Njan Enna Murivu”, the 80-page book, comprises 18 poems, over 20 sketches and a short story written by the woman, under the pen name Saya. The book is a touching account of her gruesome experience with the sex mafia, her escape from their hands and her later life in shelter homes.

Saya wrote the poems and the story in her mother tongue Bengali and they were first translated into English and then into Malayalam, Anoop G of ‘Arm of Joy’, told PTI. Anoop said he had sent the copy of her poems and story, scribbled down in personal diary, to a friend in West Bengal who translated them into English. He later translated the story into Malayalam from English while journalist Anupama Mili gave the poems a Malayalam version.

“We decided to bring it out as a book to give her more confidence and inspire her to write more. It’s unbelievable that a 7th standard school dropout can reflect her feelings and thoughts in such a beautiful and intense way,” he said.

The book was released by activist Ajitha by giving a copy to writer M N Karassery at Kozhikode Town Hall on Saturday. An exhibition of Saya’s paintings is also going on at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi art gallery.

According to local police, the woman, who managed to escape from the flat at Eranhipalam from the sex racket, was brought by locals to Nadakkavu police station on May 28. She was put up at the shelter home by police following her request. Six persons, including a woman, were later arrested in connection with the sexual abuse. Saya had also tried to end her life by consuming a lotion used for cleaning floors while staying at the shelter home some time back. The woman is waiting to return to her country and her children, to whom the book has been dedicated.