A grieving mother is chronicling the abuse her daughter’s ex-boyfriend inflicted upon her in a new book after a sustained period of physical and emotional abuse led to her taking her own life in 2016.
Miss Meera Dalal had experienced physical and mental abuse for years and which ultimately led the Leicester-based NHS professional to tragically take her own life in the family home. She had sought help from doctors and a report from her GP was read out as evidence at the original inquest in Loughborough showing how fragile her mental state had become.
Now her mother, Daksha, has teamed up with author and domestic abuse campaigner Saurav Dutt to chronicle her grief, the ordeal her daughter went through, and to create a help guide for other vulnerable persons who may be experiencing abuse but don’t know where to turn.
A mother’s tale
Entitled ‘Fall in Light: A Mother’s Story’ the memoir deep dives into topics as varied as sexual assault, psychological abuse, various forms of coercion, violence and intimidation. It also highlights subjects that are often considered taboo and contentious in South Asian communities such as depression, mental wellness, and suicide awareness.
“It may have been five years ago since I lost my darling daughter, but it feels like five minutes ago. The loss of a child is an intense grief that you will never, ever be able to overcome,” says Mrs Daksha Dalal, “sometimes I go to sleep and I don’t want to wake up. But I have to raise awareness of this kind of abuse-especially in the South Asian community-so that not one more single person feels so defeated and weakened that they have to take their own life
“If I could help one girl, one child or somebody’s daughter, that would make me happy and give me some measure of peace. I know that there is help out there for the vulnerable but you have to be willing and brave enough to take it. I have to turn this unbearable pain into something positive to help those out there who are being abused and who want to move away from that dark place and move ahead with their lives.
“Writing this memoir has been a spiritual journey for me and I had to understand why my daughter was brainwashed and manipulated into submission. I want the truth to be known around topics like depression and suicide awareness which our communities often are reluctant to acknowledge and debate. I’ve also written this book for other parents who have lost a child under such difficult circumstances, it is time for the healing to continue for all of us, and in some cases, to begin.”
The taboo of domestic violence
Saurav Dutt, whose debut novel The Butterfly Room, chronicled the accounts of over 200 domestic abuse survivors, said that it was important that people understood how complex domestic violence and psychological abuse is and that the South Asian community has a particular challenge in overcoming the issue which is often seen as taboo.
“We wanted to understand why a vibrant, happy, 25-year-old young lady would be driven to a point where she decided she did not want to remain in this world any longer. How does domestic violence change one’s mind set and approach to life? What can young people do to spot the signs and seek help? Can they move past these dark, often ugly, chapters in their life-and if they can’t, what are the reasons? We hope this book helps us answer some of these questions as well as to speak to every parent who has lost a child in such awful circumstances and to provide them with a means to address and understand the incredible pain of loss,” he says.
Miss Dalal killed herself at her family home in Syston, her family moved to a different area of Leicestershire after her death.
“Fall in Light: A Mother’s Story” is being released on International Women’s Day. Part of the proceeds will go towards organisations that provide education around suicide prevention and mental wellbeing.