Mauritius: Learning to become independent

Date: April 13, 2023
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“After that violent incident, I asserted that I no longer wanted to stay in my comfort zone or depend on my husband.”

My name is Rosaline and I am 21 years old. I have been in and out of Safe Haven Halfway Home (SHHH) multiple times since 2018 following verbal and physical abuse from my partner.

Prior to coming to Safe Haven, I was residing at another shelter. At that time, I was undertaking my A’ Level studies and studying pure sciences. I discontinued my studies as it was very stressful for me due to the high expectations that everyone had from me.

I was warmly welcomed when I first came to Safe Haven Halfway Home and I have fond memories of my stay. After looking for jobs in vain, I finally obtained a job as a hostess for around five months in 2019. I got married both civilly and religiously at the age of 19 years. At the beginning, my married life was beautiful but then I realised that my husband is an alcoholic. He verbally and physically abused me when drunk. When he slapped me for the very first time, I felt belittled and uneasy as no one had ever beaten me before. I left my husband’s place to return to Safe Haven after this incident but then my husband begged me to come back. My husband promised that his behaviour had also improved. I believed him and returned back to his place. His behaviour never changed though.

When the first lockdown was announced in Mauritius in 2020, my husband did not allow me to work as he was paranoid that I would cheat on him. Very often, my husband would return home late in the night, reeking of alcohol. When I would question him on his whereabouts, he would push me in the stomach or try to strangle me. My in-laws, who were also living in the same house, never intervened during these violent acts as they were blinded by the love of their son. I once sought help with a neighbour who called the police. The police officers were unfortunately friends with my husband. The following morning, the officers left me at the bus terminal where my father came to fetch me. My father tried to reason with my husband about his behaviour. For a while, there were no major fights between me and my husband and I swallowed the past as a bitter pill.

In the year 2021, I discussed with my husband about living apart from his parents as the latter were racist and forced me to do religious prayers. My husband and I already moved to a new home but given financial constraints, we were forced to return to his parents’ house. I also had a miscarriage around that time. I was deeply saddened and wept for days. During the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, my husband invited his friends to drink at home. One day around 3am in the morning, my husband felt paranoid and shoved me against the wall after seeing the Whatsapp status of my friend. I returned to Safe Haven for around a month. The staff advised me not to depend on my husband financially anymore and to look for a job. After that violent incident, I asserted that I no longer wanted to stay in my comfort zone or depend on my husband.

In terms of my personality traits, I am sincere and frank with myself and others. I have also learnt a lot from my life experiences. Furthermore, I persevere in the face of personal or professional challenges. For instance, I did not give up when I joined a new service line at work. In terms of the challenges that I face, I am working to ensure that I keep a sense of focus and direction in my life. I am striving to improve my organisational skills to reduce stress as well as my listening skills.

Today, the bad memories of my past no longer haunt me, as if my brain wants to shield me. I am currently in search of a job. I liked my previous work as ‘chargé de clientèle’, albeit it is not what I intended to do originally. I have always loved Physics and wanted to either become an astrophysicist or a lecturer. I look forward to resume my studies as a private candidate alongside my new job. Furthermore, I want to save enough money to rent or build my own house. With regards to my hobbies, I enjoy playing the piano, roller-skating and reading fiction, romantic or thriller books. Besides watching shows on Netflix, I also enjoy singing and writing poem and stories in English. I do wish to travel to London someday.