How A Sex-Worker’s Daughter, After Being Repeatedly Raped By Stepfather, Got A New Life As A Drummer
- IWB Post
- August 7, 2018
This is Sheetal Jain’s story who was born to a bar dancer-turned-sex worker mother. Her mother fell in love at the age of 13 and got married. But when the mother and daughter realised that this man was already married, they cut all ties with him and left for Mumbai’s red light district, Kamathipura.
Sheetal’s life was comparatively better because she got to attend school and polish her skills. However, in her words, it was another kind of nightmare. Not only she kept getting shifted from one school to another NGO, she was sexually assaulted by her step-father multiple times. With an excuse of dropping her to her hostels (in Goa & Jabalpur), he would take her to a lodge midway and rape her. “I honestly don’t know what happened, I just remembered waking up without any clothes on,” she remembered.
Things changed when she was around 9 years old. “This time, I don’t know whether to use the word, but it was definitely rape. As a child, I reacted as any other child would and just took it. I was around 8 or 9 but I knew it was wrong. I justified it by telling myself that my father was loving me, that that was the way of showing love. I was asleep and he was touching me and I didn’t realize it was wrong till he suddenly jolted from the bed and told me to put my clothes on and that’s when I realized something was wrong. He used to be quite affectionate with me and put me on his lap but I distanced myself from him after that,” she said.
Fortunately, she came in contact with NGO Kranti in 2012, which took her full responsibility. “Kranti gave me therapy and a way to heal. It’s an NGO dedicated to children of sex workers, so I was able to meet with people who were like-minded and understood what I went through. After therapy, I was able to get rid of a lot of the anger,” Sheetal shared.
Not just education, they helped her identify her passion of drumming. “I was a little girl when I used to hear them play the drums at Ganpathi celebrations. I didn’t know I could ever do it or that it could be a dream. I always thought it was something that the boys would do, I had no idea girls could be a part of it, so when they asked me at Kranti what I’d like to do, I just said drums,” said the young girl who got a half-scholarship to study for a year in Washington D.C. Once she was back, she rejoined Kranti that directed her to Taal where she attended a workshop and an 8-month internship. Today, she earns her livelihood by working as a drum circle facilitator with them.