When I met my ex-husband, he was such an amazing man. My family told me they had the perfect man for me and the wedding was set. We had some meetings before the wedding. He came to my country to visit me. He was very handsome and gentle in our meetings. He had so many wonderful things to say about the life we would live after we got married and I moved with him to Canada. It was all very exciting to me.
After the wedding, my family came to say goodbye and I said goodbye to my mother and siblings, not knowing when I would see them again, but my husband assured me I would see them at least every other year.
My first year in Canada was very traumatic. We were living with my mother and father in law and my mother in law just didn’t seem to like me. I could never seem to do anything right and when my husband came home she would tell him exaggerated stories of my short comings. I would try to tell him the real story but he’d never listen and asked me if I was calling his mother a liar. Then I realized his mother was doing things and blaming them on me. She broke some of the wedding presents from his side of the family and told her son that I broke them because I was angry. He was very upset and wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. We had a very big argument and he raised his hand as if to hit me, but hit the wall instead. He called me all kinds of names and locked me outside the home telling me I need to grow up and I was on a time-out. After a few hours he opened the door and let me in the house then dragged me by my hair to the bedroom to teach me how to be a proper wife. This type of punishment and lessons continued for all of my marriage.
6 weeks later I was very sick and went to the doctor and was told I was pregnant. When I told my husband he was very happy and I started seeing the person I married once again. Then the following day he came home from work and asked me who I was sleeping with when he was at work? I wasn’t sure what he was talking about and asked if he was joking. He replied that his mother saw me being flirtatious with some man on the street and wanted him to make sure that the baby was his. I could not remember any such man and told him so. He got very angry and wanted to know why I constantly tried to say his mother was a liar. This time when he lifted his hand he did hit me…right across the nose. Then in the shoulder and around my head. When I curled up into a ball to protect myself, he started to kick me. I’m not sure how long this went on for as I think I passed out. But the next thing I was aware of was him saying he was going to show me what cheating wives got from their husbands. He ripped my clothes off and sodomized me.
There was no one to tell about what was happening to me. When I call my family they were all so excited to hear about Canada and my wonderful life that I didn’t tell them what was going on. Plus every time I spoke to my family my husband sat right beside me. My in laws heard everything and never helped or told their son that what he was doing was wrong. Days after that beating, I stayed home to hide the bruises and I tried to be as quiet as possible so everyone would forget I was around.
I was in my marriage for 6 years and 2 children later, who my husband claims are not his because they don’t look like anyone in his family, when I met a woman while I was dropping my kids at school. She approached me and gave me a hug and told me she would listen when I was ready to talk. I was so scared that this was someone sent by my husband and his family to see if I was talking to anyone about things that happened at home so I told her no thanks and left.
Every day I saw this woman she’d remind me that she’d be there for me when I was ready to talk. Then one day after a severe beating I bumped into her and she said, “You know, it’s wrong for him to hurt you like this. You don’t deserve this and it’s not your fault” I didn’t realize that people were noticing the bruises, I took such care with the make up trying to hide them. We went for a coffee and I told her about everything that’s been going on and that I haven’t seen my family since I moved to Canada shortly after getting married and how afraid I was that the next beating would kill me and what was I going to do, who would take me in with my 2 kids…I just couldn’t stop talking and she just listened.
When I finished telling her my problems, she told me about Assaulted Women’s Helpline and that there were shelters that would take me and my 2 kids and help us get away from my abusive husband. I was afraid to do anything as he’d told me over and over that if I ever told anyone his business he’d kill me, so I told her it was okay it was just really good to talk about it.
A few months later, during another brutal beating he pushed me down the stairs, I landed right in front of my kids who were very scared and were crying and asking their dad not to hurt mommy any more. He came downstairs and grabbed both children and locked them in the bedroom. All the time saying that he was the man of the house and everyone will listen to him or he’d kill us all. That was the moment I realized that I had to do something. That my situation was just not safe for me or my children.
A few weeks later I bumped into my friend, “the listener” I call her and I told her I was ready to do something to change my situation. She acted so quickly, she called a shelter and they had space, so she told me to go to school and pick up my children and meet her in the parking lot. I did…I was so scared I could hardly breathe. There she was in the parking lot and I couldn’t seem to get the children there fast enough. As soon as we got in the car she drove away and took us to the shelter. All we had was what was in my purse and the clothes we were wearing. I couldn’t go to the house as we were still living with my in laws and they would hear and see what we were doing. So, just as we were, we left and went to a shelter.