Day 3: A Story of a Resident from the WAO Refuge

Posted on 27 November 2000

A Story of a Resident from the WAO Refuge

Lisa*, 30 years old, a former clerk from a middle-class family came to the Centre, bringing her two children along. She had decided to leave the marital home after 5 years of marriage, during which she was constantly subjected to physical and mental harassment.

Both, Lisa and her husband had known each other for about half a year before their marriage. Although he had a bad temper, he always appeared a perfect gentleman to her, so she was very much in love with him. Because the family frowned upon a long period of courtship she gave in and married him sooner than she intended to.

A life of constant harassment began soon after the marriage, he didn't give her any money; she couldn't go out to do the shopping; she couldn't bring the children to see the doctor when they were sick; he locked her in the house… He beat her, whenever she asked for money or on any occasion that he felt his authority was being challenged. He also beat her when he thought that she had told somebody about the harassment.

Yet he was a caring father. So for a long time she hoped that he would change his attitude towards her.

She never told anyone of her problems because she was ashamed. For 5 years she maintained the facade of a perfect marriage. But for the last three years she had given deep thought of leaving him. The last straw was when he told her he wanted to take another wife. She confided in a relative who sensed that there was something wrong with their family life. With the help of this relative she filed for an injunction and came to the Centre, because she needed a safe place to stay.

Lisa is an educated woman with clear conceptions about life. When talking to her about her experiences at the Centre, she had this to say:

"I came here because I needed shelter. Actually I did not believe that such a place exists or that so many women need help". "My first thought when I arrived here - it was on a morning - was: so many women and all were so busy - yet the place looks quite clean and organized. I was quite relieved because I had expected something different - frankly speaking - a messy place".

"Certainly problems do occur here, since the women who stay here, come from all walks of life - misunderstandings because of the housework, sometimes over the children - but generally we all try to co-operate and support each other".

"The workers are very helpful. They don't tell me what I should do. But they help me to understand my situation better, think carefully about it, so that I am really sure about my decisions. Here in the Centre I have the time - and feel free enough - to think about the steps I will take for my future life".

"The greatest relief for me is that I can talk to the workers, to the volunteers and the women here. I wasn't allowed to talk for so long. Although the women come from different backgrounds, we share similar experiences. You know that you are not the only one being battered… Sometimes I try to encourage the women, who haven't had a good education, to improve their skills, so that they can earn a better living".

"I think when I have settled down I would like to come back and join as a volunteer. A battered woman may be able to understand the residents and help them".

"I think in this century something like women battering should not exist."

(* Name altered to protect identity.)


Related links: Day 1 | Day 2

    • Read more about the meaning behind the 16-Days.
    • See Rutgers University's 16-Day Website.more
    • Back to 16-Day News Index.
    • Ah Lin's Story


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