“I’m born now. I’m born here again.”

Almost a decade ago in Sri Lanka, Chaturi, 41, was waiting at a bus stop and was taken by seven men in a van. She was taken and tortured because she was suspected of providing medical help to the Tamil Tigers. For three weeks, she was detained in a dark cell and was beaten, burned and sexually assaulted. Her father bribed a Sri Lankan official to get her released. She fled to save her life. Here, she tells of how she has rebuilt her life.

Blog by Chaturi

I first came to Freedom from Torture in 2016 and it’s like I am another person. So many things happened in my past life before I came here. I came here with so many problems, depression, everything. When I come here, I feel like there is someone here to help me, someone here to support me, someone who can listen to what I feel. 

Before, when I came to the UK, I had nothing, no confidence and I felt like I was nothing.  I felt like I wanted to go and die, like this life is not for me. I tried, one or two times, to go and jump under a train and finish my life but it didn’t happen. Something or someone always stopped me. 

I’m still developing my strength, I am often afraid to speak to anybody because of what happened in my country. I am scared they’re going to come and catch me. I am worried they are going to come and arrest me and put me in a dark room, hit me and beat me. That’s what happened to me. 

Though, when I started coming to Freedom from Torture, I started to open up. I started to feel like, it’s me. It’s Chaturi. I have a life to live. I have to go and find what I can do. I have to find a path for my life and progress. That’s how I am here.

I am not the same person as I was with my family or in my country. Here, I got some strength to face all the problems on my own.

In my country, I worked as an administrator in a hospital. That’s my dream job, but I need more education and experience here before I can get a job like that again. 

Work can make me feel stressed sometimes as I’m still growing. If I get too stressed, I feel like I’m back there again. Still, sometimes I feel like some thoughts are pulling me back.

Sometimes I go to the library so that I feel less stressed. My main interest is reading and music. 

If I met one of the supporters of Freedom from Torture would tell them that I feel like it is my mother’s place. Your mother can change your life and Freedom from Torture is my mother. They grow you and develop you. 

I am here because of Freedom from Torture. I said it before. I’m born now. I’m born here again. I am like a 24 months baby now.