Women of all ages face discrimination, domestic violence, sexual harassment and abuse both in public and private spheres. Therefore, there is a need for innovative and creative approaches to post-traumatic growth and recovery for those who are affected by various forms of violence. Research shows that survivors of traumatic experiences of abuse can suffer long-lasting effects and find themselves overwhelmed by challenges to their physical and emotional health.
North East Network believes that every woman has a right to self-expression. Moreover, penning down their own stories in different ways through creative writing such as fiction, poetry, stories or non-fiction piece is very effective therapy. With this idea, we went to Darrang and Golaghat districts of Assam over a period of two weeks to organize workshops on the art and skill of creative writing. The objective of the workshop is to provide a safe space for women survivors of any kind of violence to express themselves, regain self-confidence, reflect on their hopes and aspirations, joy, sorrows, struggles etc. through stories, poems and articles and painting their own life sketches.
Women peer leaders and survivors of violence from Darrang, Udalguri, Golaghat and Dhemaji participated in the workshop. The two-day engagement began with a discussion about why people write and what they write. This was followed by a writing exercise on varied topics such as personal incidents that happened in their life and was out of their control, some of which were immensely painful. In another such group writing activity, the women were led to write short stories based on collective words of their own choice. The platform also provided a space for women to re-develop and improve their writing skills and express their experiences of lives in writings. There were also women who for the first time were exposed to develop their writing skills and these women later went on to share how writing can heal one from within. The narratives of these women will inspire other women survivors to come forward and share their own experiences of discrimination and violence.
The workshop was facilitated by Rashmirekha Borah, form our team in Assam and Mayuri Deka, a young feminist poet.