Chigurida Badaku with Rohini: A Lifetime Surviving Sexual Abuse, Child Marriage, and HIV

In this episode, RJ Radha is in conversation with Rohini, who was married off to her uncle while she was still studying in the IX standard. The only reason behind this abrupt and illegal marriage was the uncle’s sexual abuse of Rohini. Her parents thought it best to marry her off to him than instigate any other action.

Rohini states that her mother wasn’t too concerned about her plight because she had always viewed her as a stranger who would ultimately go to her married home. Following the forced marriage, Rohini shifted to Bangalore and found herself stressed because she had no experience of doing household chores. Rohini got pregnant soon after and her mother provided her with a tablet to induce a miscarriage, but without letting Rohini know.

After this incident, Rohini faced regular torture from her husband for not getting pregnant again. When she did conceive later, she caught him cheating with another woman. Unable to bear all the betrayals, she attempted to go back to her mother’s house, but she was turned away. To find a place to stay, she got together with a male relative and started to lead a relatively normal life with him. This was disrupted, however, when her mother complained against their relationship and the police beat up the couple badly.

Rohini later managed to get a divorce from her husband and her father then arranged for her marriage with her partner. The couple was blessed with baby girl soon after. During this time, an unfortunate reaction to some medicines forced Rohini to be hospitalised for a long period. Her husband supported her very well throughout and they went back home happily.

Rohini found out about her HIV+ status when she was pregnant for the second time. She had to struggle with immense anger against her husband while also dealing with her own condition. With so much tragic news coming in, Rohini’s father took ill and passed away soon after. Sadly, so did Rohini’s husband. Her brother stood by her and helped her reach out to PLHIV organisations like Seva Clinic and Milana. “Milana changed my life. My children are in college today.” One of her children is also HIV+ and living well.

Rohini’s relationship with her mother remains strained and problematic, and she is always trying her best to not distress her children with false stories from her past. “I was the happiest when my father and husband were alive, ” she reminisces.

Listen in for more…

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