JULIE

I grew up in Karnataka born into a family that sold me as a Devadasi. My mother had two husbands, both of them died when I was 4 years old. I am the daughter of her second husband. I was actually born in Mumbai but my mother didn't want me to grow up in the red light area. However, out of desperation, she had already introduced my older sister Bheema to the red-light area as she too was dedicated a devadasi. When I was 4 years old my father passed away. One of the ladies from our hometown promised her a good job in Mumbai but sold her into prostitution. My mother left me with my aunt and she came to Mumbai in search of a job.


When I was 10 years old and started her menses my aunt devoted me to the goddess called Yellamma. The custom of this ritual activity is that after one girl is devoted to the goddess Yellamma they can’t get married but can live with any man. When I was 10 years old I used to go with her friends for household work. During that time one man violated me. Out of fear I didn’t share anything with my aunt nor anyone else. After a few months when I was seven months pregnant, that time my aunt realised that I was pregnant. So aunty asked my older sister Bheema to take me to Mumbai with her.


Bheema also works in the red light area as a commercial sexually exploited woman. Bheema took the responsibilities for me and as the older sister. One day she took Jaya for an abortion. This affected me so badly that I lost my senses and got addicted to alcohol. I started staying with Bheema in the red light area. I used to see my sister sleeping with so many men, as many customers used to come. One day I met a customer who came for Bheema and fell in love with him. That customer stayed with me for some time but when he saw that I was pregnant he left her and ran away.


This is how I fell multiple times into several relationship but no one accepted me as their wife. All 5 customers just made me pregnant and left me in a vulnerable situation. Today, Im caring for five children from five different customers. My sister Bheema also forced me to work with her and support her financially and I had no choice. I had five children of my own too. As a girl who grew up without a mother's care and father's protection, I was very lonely and broken.


I decided I couldn’t take this anymore and finally decided to commit suicide. I decided to end my life and so I drank some poison. My sister immediately took me to the hospital and after much effort from the doctor I came back to life. After my last delivery, I had no interest or feeling to take any more customers and so reduced customers to one or two a day.


Bheema realised that Jaya has to move out of the area and needed help. She approached Purnata to help Jaya. Today Jaya is under the rehabilitation program of Purnata. Her four children are in the hostel and the fifth one is just 8 months old. Purnata has made arrangement for the baby’s care and Jaya is now looking to the future with hope.


Jaya is trying to cope with her new life. The trauma is so severe that Jaya she can lose her senses and is a short-tempered person now. It's a challenge to deal with her and help her understand. With love from our staff, counselling, motivation and prayers now, Jaya is settling in and submitting to the program to give her a future.