ENDING THE CIRCLE OF SHAME

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Saranya* was 16 years and pregnant when she was referred to LEADS. Her father had tears in his eyes when he explained the plight of his daughter to LEADS. Saranya’s family blamed their daughter for the shame she had inflicted upon her family. Saranya was in a state of helplessness. Her head hung low in shame and silent sobs was all she had to express. The plight of her situation and the blame she had received from her parents had robbed her of nearly all her dignity and self-worth.

Yet, LEADS became a safe haven for Saranya. She received counselling and was prepared for childbirth. According to her wishes, Saranya gave her baby for adoption. Following childbirth, Saranya received guidance from LEADS to follow a course in nursing and at present, she interns as a nurse at a hospital. Saranya’s mother and father too received assistance to understand that Saranya was not to blame for what she experienced. The family received emotional support needed to cope with the shame and abuse through regular family visits that were necessary in helping Saranya return to normalcy. Even though Saranya’s court hearing is still ongoing, she receives necessary legal assistance from LEADS in order to ensure that Saranya and her family receive the justice they deserve.

“When our daughter became pregnant, we thought that it was the end of her life!” Saranya’s parents exclaim. “LEADS helped Saranya move on with her life after she gave the baby for adoption.” Saranya’s mother and father are glad that their daughter was able to sit for her Ordinary Level examination, even though she faced a period of emotional and physical struggles. “Saranya is now a nurse at a hospital” her parents explain. “We will not forget the help we received from LEADS until the day we die!”

*Name has been changed to protect her identity.

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