A New Perspective A Year In My Life

In June of 2007, I jumped out of a moving car and ran into a dumpster with nothing but the clothes on my back. I feared for my life after my spouse threatened to kill me and my whole family. Using a fictional piece about domestic violence amongst Indian Brahmin families I had published several years ago, he said he would make my story come true.

Since then, I have not looked back. I had no help, with the exception of an elderly couple that happened to "find" me that night I left my spouse. My family tried to persuade me not to go to the police and to resolve things over coffee and maybe even go back to him (for, they believed, it was my fault). It took a lot of strength for me to finally say goodbye to my father and mother and do what was right-file a report and press charges. Sadly though, the prosecutor in the town I lived in could not prosecute with limited information available, especially with my family and friends in the Indian community refusing to come forward.

Having previously "worked" in the field on women's issues, I started thinking about how I could help make changes in the law that would help me to prosecute my case, make my parents understand, and give money back to people (women AND men) who didn't have other resources after they left bad situations.

In October 2007, I joined the Purple Ribbon Council because this is exactly what it's about: Support women and families who are victims; benefit organizations that help victims; empower the community to understand the issue of domestic violence and mobilize them to move forward, socially and politically. Through its Girls Night Out and Everyday Democracy Study Circles, the Purple Ribbon Council has the ability to bring together the community, locally, nationally, and internationally; to raise funds for prevention and assistance organizations; to raise awareness amongst the mass public; to educate the community members and mobilize the community towards positive social and political changes.

The Bravery Project brings back the power to me - I get to choose the style of my portrait, when, where, how. My message is simply this: be happy.

Artist's Note: Unfortunately, the nature of domestic violence is very difficult to understand. Feeling alone is one of many reasons a victim returns to the abusive relationship, especially when divorce is frowned upon. When I met this survivor, I was struck at what an easy-going and loving person she is with a strong desire to reach out to people and help them. She has worked one step at a time to rebuild her life and now lives with abundance including her dignity and freedom. An inspiration for following your inner compass.