I live in Jhapa in Eastern Nepal. My family members are very hard working and dedicated and even though we were poor we were very happy. Our sorrows started when my brother got married. His was a love marriage and we didn’t know about it until he came home with his new bride. He is the only son and my mother had expectations of him regarding his marriage, especially as my father had already died.
Anyway, we were very happy when he came with his new wife and we welcomed her in our house. For a few months there were very happy days with my new sister-in-law and we treated her as our own sister as there were already four of us. I don’t know what the problem was for her but wondered if it was because my sister-in-law came from a rich family and she found it hard living with our family who were poor.
My sisters began to wonder if they were the cause of the problem and didn’t want our family to be destroyed so we all decided to look for work as none of us were married. None of us have a good education so we can’t get good jobs. My two older sisters left home to work and one is in Kathmandu. My third sister disappeared after she was taken to Siliguri by a lady saying she was giving her training. We have heard she has been trafficked but do not know where she is. Now my two older sisters are married.
Even though my brother and sister-in-law are living in our house we do not share the kitchen and I now have all the responsibility to look after my mother and to provide for her. My brother is not providing for us. My sister in law wants us to move out from the house which is our family home. To try and get us out of the house, she registered a case claiming my brother’s property rights. We used to hear her shouting with our brother saying that we need to get out and that she wants to live in the house herself. She tells him it is his right to have the house. She wants to say that I have no right to any of the property as I am the daughter. She verbally abuses me and says cruel things to me. My brother is helpless and so he left the house and went to Kathmandu for work and also to get away.
Slowly my mother’s mental and physical health has got worse and I have to take her to doctors for treatment. This happens repeatedly. My sister in law lives downstairs and we live upstairs. Due to the behaviour of my sister in law and the situation we are now in, I hurt very badly and sometimes wished I would die. I knew this couldn’t happen because I have responsibilities. Some times I felt that we should just leave the house and let her stay. Because of all that has happened I failed my exams and stopped my studies. I felt so ashamed and depressed because all my friends were studying but I was not. I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt.
One day, the court sent us a letter requiring us to respond to my sister-in-law’s claim. I was so shocked and frightened. I met a lawyer named Kopila and told her my whole story when she saw me in the office at Sammunat Nepal. She told me the procedure of the legal process-how to reply and what to do next.
At Sammunat Nepal there were many ladies who had been abused in some way. They were all working and I began to work too. With my own hands I have made necklaces, fringed scarves, beads from foreign clay in many new designs. The lessons were given by Wendy-didi and she has given us new light in our lives.
I have a new life and I am very happy. This is why I wish that no-one becomes victims of violence or abuse. If it happens, don’t silently tolerate it. You have your rights and have to claim them. You have to start a new life. Do not think that this is your karma or that you should put up with bad treatment. You have to help yourself. Finally, I would like to thank Kopila-didi and Wendy-didi and will put down my pen.
Postscript: Sushila’s case is still being heard. She is now fighting for what she is legally entitled to-for her own rights. As an unmarried daughter, legally she has the same rights as a son. The court is currently confirming her claim that she is not married. It will take many months but should be a positive outcome. Sushila has come up with some wonderful ideas using the clay and makes many beautiful beads.