*Jayamma was 7 when her father told her she was to be dedicated. He could not afford a dowry for her, and he needed someone to look after him in his old age. The solution was to dedicate Jayamma to the temple goddess.
The entire village attended the ceremony, yet Jayamma had no idea what was in store.
When she reached puberty, Jayamma found herself trapped in a horrendous cycle of systemic sexual abuse.
By the time Jayamma was thirteen years she was pregnant, but as she had been used by most of the men in her village she had no idea of the father’s identity.
In her 20s, Jayamma became sick, and as she approached thirty her health declined. Her uncle had died from AIDS, and had ‘used’ Jayamma for many years. Increasingly unhealthy and feeling worthless, life became unbearable.
We met Jayamma through our Prevention and Awareness Programme, helping her to understand her rights and entitlements, and arranged an HIV test where she was diagnosed as HIV positive. Our team helped her access treatment and provided tailoring training to enable her to earn a living.
It is early days, but Jayamma’s life is beginning to change for the better.
*Name and image changed to protect the identity
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