EMC news – Aruna Papp never questioned the beatings she received from her husband and her father until she moved to Canada.
Papp, who grew up in India and was married by the age of 17, began working as a short-order cook at York University after emigrating in the ’70s.
After finding a second job as a women’s locker room attendant, she secretlybegan taking sociology courses in the building next to where she worked. After coming home one night and learning from her daughter that her father had instructed her husband to beat her “because that’s the only language she understands,” she escaped and lived in her car for two weeks before finding a bachelor apartment. Since then she has founded the South Asian Family Services and works with the York Regional police to educate them on cultural differences and honour based violence.
The author of Unworthy Creature: A Punjabi Daughter’s Memoir of Honour, Shame and Love, Papp told the group at an Algonquin College workshop on April 23 that telling her story was tough, but it became necessary to help women gain equal rights.
The workshop, In the Name of Honour: Responding to victims of Honour-Based Violence and Forced Marriage, was hosted by the college’s victimology program, the Ottawa police victim crisis unit and the Department of Justice. The workshop marks the fourth year of the college program. It’s a one-year graduate certificate course that takes grads from social work, policing and nursing. The program was created four years ago. Each year, the speaker panel is made up of people who have been victims of violent crime, along with police officers, counsellors and social workers who have worked in various parts of the country’s judicial system.