This Article is From May 20, 2013

From rape survivor to counsellor: a brave journey

Kolkata: For 14 months after her ordeal in February last year, Kolkata's Park Street rape survivor struggled to find a job to support her ailing mother and two daughters.

She finally found hope in April this year, when a women's rights group roped her in to counsel and help others like her heal. The initiative, a helpline-cum-social network page, is meant for victims of social injustice, including rape.

"Since I have gone through this entire tragedy and I came out a survivor, I could actually connect with them on that level... It's a healing process, a two way street. I give, they give and we heal each other," said the 37-year-old rape survivor.

Women's rights activist Santasree Chaudhuri had tried to find the Park Street rape survivor a job. But when she failed, she decided to tailor make one for her.

"It was very unfair on the part of entire Kolkata not to offer a single job. I tried. I couldn't hide the identity because it was moral issue for me. So when I said this is the girl, they all said we will get back to you but till today I am waiting for that call," Ms Chaudhuri said.

The rape survivor's salary is Rs 10,000 a month, not exactly princely, but enough to give her self-confidence and some frills.

"I took my kids out. I asked them what they wanted to eat. And they all decided on Chinese dinner and it felt amazing because I could take them out on my account and I could feed them and I was paying the bill, finally," said the single mother.

The best part of it all, she will be helping others like her, and she knows that's also the best way to help her as well.