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One person for one person

It was counselling that saved me. I feel free now, thanks to that. I love singing, and the local hospital often asks me to sing at events.

My former husband gives me Rs. 12,000 a month as support. I am continually worried, however, that he might stop the payments. I still work as a teacher. When people see that I am doing relatively well, sometimes they question how I am able to support myself. I am often afraid, after sending the twins to school and before they come home. I have heard the issues that can befall women living on their own.

When you compare our way of life before the war and now, I see a huge change. During the LTTE's time, they would never have allowed people to have love affairs like this. They had a saying, “One person for one person”. How can today's society forgive people who abandon their wives in this manner?

There is no amount of money that can compensate for not having a loving father. The twins are sad they don’t have a father, which makes me sad. But I have to survive."

While there are many who offer counselling in the North and East, there is a lack of consistent support, and particularly, of specialist services, Women’s Action Network – Mullaitivu said. There is just one specialist psychiatrist for the entire district. Local NGOs often assist with short term projects, but once funding dries up, they have to move elsewhere, so there is a lack of continued support. Yet, counselling can give many of these women a new outlook on life, even in the aftermath of violence.

Many who spoke to Groundviews also said frankly that the LTTE did not allow for extramarital affairs and abandonment. As such, they felt the culture in their areas had deteriorated after the war – and they were suffering the consequences.

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