Shall I ever see some light

Date: November 22, 2012
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Written by *Anita

What is wrong with me? Why should I keep on living in an abusive relationship? The glimpse of light that I find at the end of this long dark tunnel is my children.

I am still not sure what will become of me. And yet I am trying to cope because of my children. I hope that one day they will take care of me and I will no longer have to live in this abusive relationship. After so many years of domestic violence, I still cannot leave my husband. I have tried. I have even reported him to the police a few times. I have stayed in a shelter but was not strong enough to resist when he asked me to return home with him.

I am telling my story in the hope that the hundreds of women who are suffering like me do not make my mistake. I get the impression that the fault lies in me. The shelter I went to did everything for me and I will always be grateful. I got all the support that a victim could get and yet I am now back to square one.

I was only 23 when I fell under the spell of this charming man for the first time. We got attracted to each and fell madly in love. We started to meet regularly. My mother was not happy with this relationship and even objected. Maybe deep inside her she knew I was in for trouble, a mother’s instinct!

We were so much in love that Robin insisted that I leave my mother’s house and live with him in his parents’ house until he could find a house. Later, he rented a small house so that we could live together. When my mother heard that she came for me on the very same day and I had to go with her.

How could my mother do this to me? I was 23 years old after all and an adult who could take my own decision. I, therefore, ran away from home and went to live with Robin. We got married soon after and we stayed with his mother.

We lived happily for two years until he got a contract to work overseas. While he was still working abroad, he telephoned his mother to tell her that he had received a letter from a friend informing him that my behaviour was unacceptable. I was apparently having an affair with someone else.My mother in law ordered me to leave the house on the spot and to return to my mother’s place. I was pregnant at that time.

I was very happy when I heard that Robin had returned to Mauritius after his two years’ contract as deep inside me I knew he would come and get me and our daughter and we would live a happy family life.

My dream came true when soon after my mother’s death; Robin did come for me and our daughter. But I could not believe my eyes as soon as I stepped foot in the house. I saw another woman there. I was shocked. I had nowhere to go and because of our daughter, I decided to stay with him. It was only later that I learnt that he had been living with that other woman for quite some time.

I was depressed but for the sake of my child, I accepted the double life of my husband. We lived in this relationship for eight years and during this time, I gave birth to three children.

Soon after my second child was born, he started beating me. He was bringing all sorts of women in the house. I was even asked to change the room of the children so that he could be free to have his sexual debaucheries. It was hard for me to stay under the same roof of a husband who was having affairs with all kinds of women and in the eyes of our children.

The beatings became regular and sometimes I had to run away. I went to the police a few times but each time they told me that they could not get involved in domestic affairs and I must sort out my problems. They made me feel as if I was the one who should be blamed. Sometimes I even believed them.

I cannot count the number of times I sought refuge at my neighbours’ place. They were good indeed and let me sleep overnight until my children would come for me when things had calmed down at home.

Four years ago, I decided to go in a shelter and stayed there for two and a half months. The people there were very nice to me. They helped me a lot and gave me moral, financial and psychological support. They even found a job for me so that I could be economically independent and did not have to go back to this abusive relationship.

One day Robin came to see me. That became the end of my short happy life in the shelter. He told me that my kids wanted me back and that my younger daughter was going through a depression. As soon as I heard about daughter’s illness, I was heartbroken and left everything behind and followed him.

This was the worse decision that I had ever taken in my life. I am still being abused physically and psychologically and on top of that I have to cope with another woman staying in the same house and knowing too well that my husband is making love to her.

Is it worth making this kind of sacrifice? Will I find some light one day? Will my children really be able to help me?

*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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