Nehha (name changed) After 21 years of living with verbal, spiritual and emotional abuse at the hands of her preacher husband, Nehha,, determines to break free and take control of her life. This is her domestic abuse story:
“Domestic abuse is not always physical, it can be emotional and psychological as well”
Everytime someone is nice to me, especially strangers, I cry. Not tears of joy but I get sad. Is it normal to cry like that? Well, I realised very late that no point of cornering myself and crying. I was emotionally and verbally abused for 21 years. I have an 18 year old son with this man, who grew up watching this. At first it was the mental abuse, chipping away at my confidence and character bit by bit, little things like what I was wearing or how my make-up looked. It is true what they say; the more something is said, the more you start believing it is you and not them. Everything has to be his way and only with his friends. He does not like anyone that I know or work with and if I am with any of them then he accuses me of having an affair. He has called me everything imaginable. I am working 18-19 hrs a day between 3 jobs. And when I went home to get sleep he cursed me out for not getting the house cleaned first, before going to sleep. read more
I think you need to get to a point where you recognize that it's a problem. I always thought that abuse was about hitting someone or sexual abuse but shouting and being aggressive can be very intimidating and they are a form of abuse. Years went by and I had a hope that things will be fine someday. One day, I came home from work and heard my son verbally abusing me like his dad. That was the day I decided I was done. Over the next few weeks I planned my move with my son. It was not easy but we did it and none of us ever looked back. My son is addicted to drugs and alcohol. He hates his father for what he did to our family.♦ My Advice:
Don't wait for it to get better because it never does. While you are waiting your children are getting hurt and for them that hurt and damage never goes away. You have a responsibility towards them to protect them that is all they want from you. Identify the courage within yourself!
Raj (name changed) tells his domestic abuse story candidly and with a lot of confusion, he simply did not recognize the emotional abuse with which he was living, but he did notice the effect it was having on him. This is his story.
I am a 48 year old man and was a single dad with children and remarried. What an idiot I was. I should have spotted the warning signs.Whenever anything went wrong, my wife would blame me. Anyway, it turned into a living nightmare within a year of being married.She took every opportunity to belittle me. She would complain about almost everything- the way I look or the money I earned.
It was almost difficult to make her happy. When in a temper, she often hit me but never on the face. I thought I deserved it because I was withdrawn and a bad husband – that’s what she kept saying. She forced me to have sex to become a good husband for her. I couldn’t leave because that would have meant leaving my children.
I tried to tell my mother but what little I told she said, “What are you doing to make her behave that way?” I felt abandoned by everyone except the kids. After several years my wife said she was leaving. Everyone said the breakup was my fault. I never told anyone what really happened.
Years later, I finally had the courage to approach RAA team and discuss. I wasn’t comfortable initially but I went to because of depression after I lost my job. I had no close friends by then. read more
I knew that my children needed me even though I felt pretty useless. That’s the only thing that got me through and eventually made me realise that it was not all my fault. I had always been involved with their day to day care and that gave me a purpose. Their love gave me strength. But the doubt about my husband qualities still lingers and will probably never go away. I haven’t dated since then.♦ How the situation changed ?
She gave up on me and left. I think she had been sleeping with other men and decided I wasn’t worth the trouble any more. She took almost everything from the house but I didn’t care at the time. I was just glad it was over. It was the worst time of my life. Roopa Aur Aap held be in those time and took me out of the naive cloud I was living in where I had no words to describe my confusion and terror.♦ My Advice:
There are so many confused thoughts especially the nagging feeling that somehow you are the one to blame, the mad person. It’s no good saying to someone you have to leave because there are so many other things to consider – like children, money, lawyers, etc. The only positive thing is the love, I have for my kids and them for myself. Love Yourself!
Anitha (name changed) thought the whole domestic violence story came to an end once she met someone really special but only to find herself victimization in another abusive relationship. This is her story:
I met my husband 18 years ago. He seemed a nice easy-going polite man, until I got married to him and moved with him to NZ. I began to see and feel the other side of him.
He started giving me a feeling that I was good for nothing. I wasn’t working then so he always made me feel that I was a burden to him. I was so far off from my family and he was the only one I knew here.I felt neglected and sad. He always believed that his thoughts were the truth and my beliefs are fantasy. I never understood what the reason for this sudden change in his behaviour. He criticized me for not being happy and doing what I want to do saying that it is my new addiction. He always suspected me to have an affair with men.
Few years passed, I decided to take up some work to support him and thought it will be good to contribute. After lot of convincing I was allowed to work. While working, I met someone who seem to be kind and friendly to me. There was nothing between us initially just mutual respect and friendship. After all those years of torture at home, I used to feel relaxed and peace with him. I began to trust him and shared about my husband and relationships. Suddenly, one day when I went to work, I was told that he left his job. I tried calling him but he didn’t pick my calls. He disappeared and there was no contact. I didn’t know what to do. I was unable to understand what has happened. A month later, he emailed my husband with some photographs of us together and began to harass me. I was unable to understand why was he doing that? I got to know that he was already married with a daughter. I was shattered and felt more like ending my own life. I couldn’t understand why he was doing it and why was he so nice to me earlier? Just to have a physical relation with me? My husband was furious and the beatings came thick and fast and the sexual abuse came with it: walking sticks, pens and other items put into me because I deserved it. The domestic violence continued for years, the reason he used was that I'd been unfaithful - it was his ideal excuse for his behaviour, he made me feel so bad about myself and for hurting him, that I believed, I deserved that kind of treatment - I was at one of my lowest points in my life. read more
Days and years went on and eventually, after 18 years, I broke the silence and informed my family. With their encouragement, I summoned up the courage to seek help. By that time, I had reached my breaking point and decided that enough was enough, so, when I was presented with the opportunity to escape from him once and for all, I fled. With strong support of RoopaAurAap Team and my family it was made possible. They organised me to stay in a refuge. Two years have already passed and I feel I am a new person with self-confidence. I don’t know if true love exist or do I deserve a true love but I am scared to be in relationship for sure. I didn’t have to suffer for 18 years if I had taken a move earlier.♦ My Advice:
I know that although it takes a lot of strength to either leave or get help, and most women think they don't have it, all they have to do is look for the strength and it will be there. I did and I am much better off now. I feel I am reborn after 18 years. The world is a brighter and happier place for me, so take heart and leave the violence and abuse, take as much time as you need to regain yourself, your soul, self-esteem and confidence and you will come through a better and happier person.