The story of three women who survived domestic violence

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    Every day millions of women around the world are victims of domestic violence, and these are worrying numbers that cannot be ignored. According to the World Health Organization, almost a third of women who have had an affair say they have suffered some form of sexual or physical violence by your partner during your life. Almost 40% of women who are killed in the world are victims of their partner.

    The global number of feminicides is increasing, and 2019 saw a wave of protests against domestic violence around the world. Last September, they were held events throughout Spain after 19 women were killed by their former partner or partner. A October was staged a “Die-in” in Paris, to protest the death of more than 120 women in France since the beginning of this year, all victims of domestic violence. In Russia protests continue sinceSome forms of domestic violence have been decriminalized in 2017.

    It is important to stress the fact that domestic violence has many forms: includes physical violence, sexual, psychological, but also coercive behavior, obsessive control or deprivation of economic independence. On the occasion of the United Nations International Day against Violence against Women, on November 25th, three women from different parts of the world (United Kingdom, Kenya and Palestine) told their stories of domestic violence.

    * Hannah, 36, from the UK, suffered domestic violence from what is now her ex-husband for more than 4 years. The man was sentenced with the suspension of the sentence at the beginning of 2019.

    «At first they were small things. He asked me “What are you doing?” What are you doing? Who are you talking to? “And then he would say to me,” Don't dress like that, don't do this, don't talk to these people. ” Then the violence became physical, but he always apologized, later, “I'm so sorry, I don't know what took me, I love you”. Sometimes I left, and at one point i went to a shelter for women and children victims of violence. But then I came back to him, e in the end we decided to get married. On the wedding day he tried to strangle me. And even at that moment I thought, “You have to go on, you're here now.”

    “He continued to be violent even after marriage. When I got pregnant with my son, at some point I couldn't take it anymore and left. He went mad, he kept calling me, he was very offensive. We reconciled and I had the child. But things have not changed. At one point I told him. “Don't touch me, stop behaving like that,” and he replied. “You are my wife, I can do what I want». “I returned to work when the child was only a few months old. They made me do it a training course on domestic violence that was called The Freedom Program. And at that moment a light bulb turned on. I remember I burst into tears, it was my husband who was talking, I was upset. I had denied the evidence, I had seen domestic violence around me since I was a child, and I thought it was normal. “

    “After I left he started tormenting me and persecuting me. I was terrified. Once she followed me home from work and I ended up in the hospital with a head injury. In the end they arrested him, they sentenced him on probation and gave him a ten-year restraining order.

    “I went to therapy for many years after leaving my husband. After all I've been through, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, I have panic attacks. But since my ex-husband was sentenced, I feel more stable. Now I can use my personal experience to help other women who suffer domestic violence. “

    * Ruth, 36, from Kenya, suffered domestic violence for 5 years. She has now filed a complaint to obtain a restraining order against her husband with the help of FIDA Kenya, an organization affiliated with Womankind Worldwide.

    “My husband and I have been married for nine years. He started behaving violently five years ago, when he started drinking. He came home drunk, he insulted me in front of the children and then he started beating me. I used to go home with the children, but then he came to me, e he apologized, his parents came to apologize too, and to tell me that he had improved, and then I returned home. But he pretended in front of me, in front of my parents, in front of my friends. And when we came home, he began to be violent again.

    When I left the family home for the last time, I was five months pregnant. My husband came home drunk, he started beating me and smashing everything. He hit me on the forehead with a metal bar. Then he took a knife and in front of the children said he would kill us all and then kill himself. We managed to escape. I had to go to the hospital, they put 5 points on my forehead ».

    Today I am in the eighth month and I live alone with my other two children. THEHe comes out of our new house at night and slams his fists against the gate for two hours and then leaves. I'm afraid, you never know what's on your mind. I'm afraid he can come here and kill us all. “

    “From an economic point of view I'm the only one responsible, it was really hard. My children know everything that happened, because everything he did to me did it before them. I filed a complaint with the police and am waiting to go to court».

    “I tell my story because I hope to encourage other women to react and move on with their lives.”

    * Maha, 22, from Palestine, suffered domestic violence from her father as a child. He received the support of the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association (PFPPA).

    “I remember that my father started beating me and my sisters when we were still very young. My mother and father also fought, he was always angry, and he controlled the money we spent. At that time I justified him, he does this because he is stressed about work, I told myself ».

    “Things got worse when they failed me in the final high school exam. I wanted to do the exam again but he said that if you did he would marry another woman. IS he wanted me to get married, instead of continuing to study. My father already had in mind to remarry, but when I said I wanted to redo the exam he used this as an excuse. At that point he became more violent with me and my mom. IS then he no longer gave us any financial help».

    »When I did the final exam, my father tried to get me married to a man I didn't know. I was afraid that my story would repeat itself, that even my children would go through what I went through. A friend advised me to go to the Palestinian Family Planning and Protection Association, where I was helped by a social worker who helped me avoid marriage, and gave me great help thanks to counseling sessions “.

    Then I also entered the PFPPA program that helps women achieve economic independence, is thanks to them I was able to attend a photography course and buy my equipment. Today I work in a photographic studio and I am economically independent. They helped me to understand that there is a different world outside “.

    «I want to tell my story because there are so many young women victims of violence, often in situations far worse than mine. I want the girls to understand that they must not remain silent. And I believe that anyone who has a dream, must fight to achieve it “.

    * some names have been changed

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