A teenager’s advice – do not suffer in silence

Date: November 23, 2012
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“I am Christelle and I am 17 years old. My sister is 12 years and my brother is 9 years old. We have lived at the Centre d’ Education de Development pour les EnfantsMauriciens (CEDEM), a centre for abused children in Mauritius, for three years now.

Since I was six or seven years old, I saw my father beating my mother almost every day until the day he killed her.

As I grew up, it was hard for me to witness the suffering endured by my mother and I stood up for her against my father. My father became very violent towards me. I was often hurt and had bruises all over my body. Once he fractured my arm. My mother accompanied me to the hospital, but did not disclose anything. She told the nurse that I hurt myself whilst playing. On another occasion when my father hurt me she said that I fell down from a tree.

When the doctor started questioning my mother, she denied the fact that I was a battered child. After that, my mother stopped taking me to the hospital and I suffered in silence without medical assistance.

I could not go to school regularly. I felt sad and anxious to leave my mother alone at home with my father. I could not study. I could not do my homework. My teacher was not aware of my family problems and scolded me.

When my brother was two months old, my father cut my mother’s hand and she stayed in hospital for some time. I took charge of the household, my sister and brother.

The situation worsened when my mother returned. Every day they both drank and quarrelled. It always ended in violence. My father threw things and once tried to strangle my mother with an electric wire.

When my mother ran away at night, I always took my sister and little brother with me. Sometimes I left them with my neighbour, and in the dark, I went to look for my mother.

It was a Wednesday evening; both my mother and father were drunk. In the middle of the night, I got up hearing my mother screaming and my sister crying. I saw my mother lying on the floor and my dad kicking her in the stomach. I tried to remove my mother, and was angry with my father. He gave me a slap. When he heard my sister and brother crying, he went outside.

I saw blood coming from my mother’s mouth. I tried to clean it. What I can still remember is that my mother wanted to speak to me but the words she uttered were not clear. When my father came inside, he asked me to help him to place my mother on the bed, which I did. He then asked us to go to bed.

At about six o’clock in the morning, my father came to my room and told me that my mother did not want to wake up. I talked to her but she did not respond. I thought she was pretending not to hear us. When my father left to look for his mother, I told my mother not to be afraid as my father was out, but she still did not answer.

My grandmother came and as she touched my mother she told us that she had passed away. We all started crying and the neighbours came. My mother’s relatives came with police officers who took my father to the police station. The post mortem examination confirmed that my father battered my mother to death.

*Not her real name.
This story is a personal account and has also been used in War@HomeGender Based Violence Indicators Study Mauritius Country Report by Gender Links.



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