Story of Ms. Helenka – forcibly sterilised Roma women
She is one of the Romani women who have been illegally sterilized by doctors in the past. He has been trying to get justice for many years. She has decided to publish her life story and we will be happy to provide her with a space within our blog.
It happened to me that I had two children. But then it happened to me that I could no longer give birth because they did to me what they didn’t have. They tied my ovaries, so I couldn’t give birth more than once.
Because of this, I had a problem with an ex-husband – a deceased – who died for me. He always told me I couldn’t have children and why I couldn’t have children. He always argued with me and did not want to live with me because I could not give him children.
What could I do when I could no longer have children and could not get pregnant? Because it was no longer possible? I always felt that way when I had a child in my arms. So I was sorry that the other women had children and I didn’t. I was so worried. Until I cried of grief that I could not hold a tiny baby in my arms.
I would like something to be done about it. They did this to me so that I could no longer give birth. Please start addressing this. We have been striving for so many years. That would be fair.
I have nothing more to say but that I want to achieve justice. Then I will feel at least a little better than before. I hope that will come true.
Thanks, that’s all.
Helenka is one of the Romani women who has been illegally sterilized in the past without giving her free and informed consent to the operation. Helenka was sterilized during communism in the former Czechoslovakia. He has been striving for redress and satisfaction for almost 20 years. Helenka lives in an excluded Roma community in eastern Slovakia and her mother tongue is Romani.
Together with a group of other active Roma women and with the support of our non-governmental organization, he has been pushing for many years for the Slovak government to accept responsibility for this illegal practice. He is trying to get the government to apologize to and compensate the injured women.
The story you read was dictated by Mrs. Helenka to her bride, who wrote it with a pen on a piece of paper. Helenka gave us this paper at our recent meeting. She wanted to share her story with the general public. She wanted to tell her story out loud, and we were happy to give her a space on our blog.
Thanks to the long-term efforts of Ms Helenka and other injured Roma women, the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights discussed the issue of illegal sterilisations in July this year. In his resolution, he supported the compensation of all injured women and called on the government to apologize to them. Today, there is hope that Mrs Helenka and other injured women will finally seek justice.
The commitment and determination of Mrs. Helenka and other injured women deserves our admiration and recognition. We believe that it can encourage others – who are facing wrongdoing – to stand up for their human rights. To seek justice and not to give up.
You can learn more about illegal sterilizations of women in the former Czechoslovakia and later in Slovakia in one of our previous blogs.