Every day I recieve reports from India.
All to do with women who have been abused, raped or assaulted….but recently I met someone who told me his story which not only bought tears to my eyes, but made me realise more that I can make a difference, and I am making a difference.
I might not be able to change the laws in India, I might not be able to change the mentality of rapists but what I can do is be a voice for so many women and all the stories that go unheard or untold.
Here is a story I want to share with you all….
At the request of this person I cannot say his name, but he has given me permission to tell this story.
Few weeks back I was out with my sister and a few friends at a bar and this young guy who I’ve never met before asked if I would go outside and speak to him. At first I thought he was drunk and being sleazy so I said no, but he said it was important and to do with ‘Damini’, and that he wanted to tell me something. I agreed and went outside, and asked one of my friends to keep an eye on me just in case….
He started off by praising my work and said he was so proud of what I was doing. He then said I owe you a big ‘Thank You’.
Thank you? Thank you for what?”, I said….
This was his reply, “When I was a kid I lost my sister,” (at this point I thought he meant she had passed away)
“Something bad happened to her, which was beyond her control. No one’s ever told me what exactly. They just kept telling me she had gone away. I’d heard through family and people gossiping what had happened to her though, so I know. My parents disowned her for something that wasn’t even her fault…”
“I’ve heard your name ‘Reena Combo’ many times and I’ve seen you out and about loads, but then I heard what you were doing for your Damini campaign. I wanted to come to the vigil you held in January but couldn’t bring myself to be there. I then watched you on all the news channels, read about you on the internet, followed you on Twitter…and think what you’re doing is amazing.
“I saw you on BBC Breakfast back in January and recorded it, and then saw you again on there a few weeks ago, and again recorded it. I sat my mum down and made her watch it. I translated everything you were saying in Punjabi so she would understand, and said ‘Look mum, look what this girl is doing for a young girl and so many other women across the other side of the world who she doesnt even know! She’s not related to these girls, she’s never even met them, yet she’s fighting for them! You couldn’t even support your own daughter. You couldn’t fight for my sister’
“Today, 15 years later my mum is now in contact with her daughter, I have re-connected with my sister and it’s all thanks to you….Thank you Reena.”
As he spoke to me he had tears running down his face, and so did I…..to know I had helped him, his mum and his sister unite again filled me with not only pride but more motivation.
He went on to tell me he promised himself that if he ever saw me he would say thank you to me personally and that his mum said that if you ever meet this girl you tell her from me to keep doing what she is doing, because without realising it she is making a difference.
I was reluctant to share this story as I didn’t want people to feel I was blowing my own trumpet, but his story is one that I think of everyday and it brings tears to my eyes every time, but it also make me realise that if we speak out and raise awareness we can make a difference.
I hope to continue what I’m doing, and grow my campaign more. My life has a new meaning….that is the fight for every Damini out there x