My world turned upside down

Date: November 22, 2012
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Written by Appamah Emraj

At the age of 16, my world turned upside down with the death of my mother. I was still at secondary school doing my fourth form. Remaining in school for another year would have meant sitting for my school certificate which would have helped me in getting a job.

Overnight my dreams became a nightmare. On the very same day of the funeral, all my years of studies became something of the past. Soon after the funeral I had to pack all my educational materials and began looking for a job. At that point I looked for any job so long as it brought moneyfor household use. Fortunately for me, several textile factories in Mauritius were looking for employees and it was quite easy for me to get a job.

Being the youngest one and the only girl in my family I had no say in family matters. I was however, told that I should find a job so that I could buy food, pay electricity and water bills. My father was not prepared to provide anything in the house as his best friend was a bottle of rum. He would come back in the evening drunk and demand that we put food in front of him irrespective of the fact that he had not contributed towards buying it.

At the age of 18 Imet what I thought would be the love of my life. At the age of 21 we got married and moved in together. What a shock lay ahead of me. The “palace” that I had assumed to be our new home was worse than a shack covered with corrugated iron sheets. The shack had no water, no electricity, no furniture and not even a bed to sleep on. We slept on the floor for a few days waiting for the furniture to arrive. My husband told me that furniture was bought on hire purchase and would be delivered.

The furniture never arrived and I decided to buy a few furniture and the basics needed for the house on hire purchase. All sorts of ordeals soon followed the series of lies by my husband.

I became pregnant but was beaten so badly that I lost my baby girl in hospital. After seven years of ill-treatment, I nevertheless gave birth to a boy. During the same time there was a bad cyclone and our house was badly damaged. I took a loan and my colleagues assisted me to make repairs on the house. However I had to work harder to repay the loan.

By then my husband was drinking so heavily that he lost his job. The beating became worse.
I reported him to the police several times and obtained a protection order against him.

After I got a protection order against him, my husband went to the police to report that he was a battered man. I don’t understand but they also gave him a protection order. In addition I had to pay Rs.2,480 for legal charges. I always keep this receipt in my purse as a reminder of blatant discrimination because I am a woman.

My husband getting a protection order against me was the last straw. I left the house and went to SOS Femmes where I got all the legal, medical and psychological help. I stayed there for three years. I am now working in a hotel.

This story is a personal account and has also been used in War@Home Gender Based Violence Indicators Study Mauritius Country Report by Gender Links.


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