Real stories - Gudiya Loniya

Name: Gudiya Loniya
Age: 19
Sex: Female
Place of origin (village, VDC, District): Devangadiya-4, Kapilvastu
Case details: Gudiya is from remote Madhesi community in Kapilbastu. She was married at a very young age. Soon after the wedding,  her in laws lost a buffalo. Gudiya was slow to conceive and the family, therefore, started calling her a witch. They physically and mentally abused her as her in-laws thought Gudiya was a bad omen for the family. The family conspired to harm her, but in the end it was her sister in law who took a burning log and burnt Gudiya

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Interview with Gudiya

- At what age did you marry? Could you please describe how it was to get married at such an early age?

At the age of 14, I was married. In the Madhesi community, it’s a tradition that girls should marry at early age. I begged my grandparents and my parents to not make me marry for some years, but they didn’t listen to me so in the end I gave in to make them happy.

- When your husband's family started to accuse you of being a witch and a bad omen, did you receive support from your husband and your own family?

He was also forced to marry me. Maybe this is one of the reason why he never cared or loved me.  My mother in laws and sister in laws always criticized me to my husband.

I didn’t want to share these concerns with my parents because I thought they would get tense and worry about me. I didn’t want to cause them problems.

- After the attack, what made you decide not to go back to your family’s home or to your husband’s?

In my husband’s home I was depressed, humiliated and never felt that I was part of their family. So, time to time, I used to visit my parents. After the torture and pain, I made a commitment to myself to not to go back to his home again.

- How old are you today?

I am just 19 years old.

- How old were you when your sister in law burned you?

I was 16 years old.

- What support have you received from BVSN and how has this impacted your life after the attack?

I am from a very poor family and my father is a carpenter. He is the only bread winner in our house. Due to lack of money, I was not able to get further treatment but in the mean time, I met the staff of BVS-Nepal in Kapilvastu. They called Kathmandu where they have arranged all the surgical, medical and nutrition support for me. After my first surgery, I had to have full bed rest as well as daily dressings so they referred me to the SAATHI shelter.  BVS-Nepal’s support, helped me to become the woman I’m today and I am really proud of it. I have taken the opportunity by staying in SAATHI shelter to do some tailoring training and learnt how to read and write. After that nightmare incident, I never imagined that I would live my life. Obviously directly or indirectly it has impacted my life. Whenever I look at the mirror the scars on my body reminds me of my past. My heart becomes strong to be able to move on with my life. I know that my parents were really scared and hurt after the attack.

I am very thankful to BVS-Nepal for giving me the opportunity to get a new life to live and also thankful to Saathi Shelter for providing the environment to learn new skills.

- What are your dreams for the future? What are you planning to do after you leave the shelter?

When I go back to my village, I really want to open a tailoring shop, so I don’t have to depend on my father or family.  I will also make people aware of burns violence and its consequences.

- You said that you used to think that women were only born to serve men but now you know that women actually have choices. What made you realize that women have choices?

When I was in living in the village, we did monotonous work, like domestic or household work. We (Girls/women) were always ruled by men, who were called King of the home. We didn’t have any freedom and were restricted to do only work in our village. That’s why I thought that women were only born to serve men. When I came to Kathmandu it was totally different. Here women are so independent. They have freedom to study, freedom to go outside to work and that’s how I realized that I was totally wrong.

- What would be your message to other girls and adolescents that are going through a similar situation?

We have faced such a terrible life so let's come together to end the violence. I will pray no more women become the victims of such violence.