“My marriage life was like living in Hell”
A firsthand account of reporting domestic violence from a client at WCCC.
I have been married for thirteen years. I was fifteen and he was seventeen. He wasn’t my first man but he knew it before we got married. His family didn’t want him to marry me but he insisted so they let him.
I really don’t know why they don’t like me but it made my marriage life like living in hell. My husband beat me up a lot because of what my in-laws told him about me, even my father in-law and his brothers, they had beat me too. I felt like a second class citizen just because I came to the marriage not a virgin.
The nightmare starts on the second week of our marriage. He had continued to beat me up ever since, sometimes with his fist, sometimes with an object. There’s a scar on my right chin, he threw a spade at me while I was talking with another person.
We’ve been separated so many times, but when it came to his apology I always went back to him. The black marks on my face shadow my eyes like its normal. I never made a complaint to the police, but I always told him that once I made a complaint, it will be the one.
Finally, I decided to run away to Ha’apai with my two children to my sister who live there with her family. He called me once to send some money and I told him to send it to my sister so that he knows that I have nothing to do with the money, it just for the kids. The second time he called to send money I told him that I can take care of the children and I don’t need the money. The very next day he showed up at my sister’s place and asked to take the kids with him for the night, so I let him.
The next day was a Sunday and my sister and her husband went with their kids to church, all of a sudden he showed up with the children and demand that we have sex, when I say no, he drag me into the room and try to force me to have sex. He didn’t care about our children standing there, he started to beat me up, I grabbed the phone and dialed my sister’s number before he punched me and the phone went off my hand.
My eight year old daughter was running down the road crying and my six year old son was standing there watching us. Luckily my sister heard me screaming before he smashed my head on the side of the side-board which made me unconscious.
Few minutes later my sister got home with her family. He just stopped and left. He tried to contact me but we knew that’s the end of our marriage.
I stayed with my sister for a short time before I decided to go back to Tongatapu. I was shocked to find that we were on the same boat with him. We talked most of our time while on the boat and we both agreed that we should file for divorce.
When we got to Tongatapu we both went our separate ways, but very shortly he was like my shadow again following me around. I decided to move and stayed with my cousin in another village, he found me there and attacked me with a knife, so my cousin moved me with her friend, he found me there, no one was in the house but he open the mosquito net from outside and burn the curtain. I did file a complaint to the police but the couple who own the house didn’t want anything to do with the police; they just want me and my two children to move out from the place.
Luckily I know one of the government agents who know about the services and support offered by the WCCC. I told them about my story and suggested that I be referred to the WCCC Safe House. I moved to the Safe House and waited there for the court order against my husband. He was found guilty and the magistrate sentenced him to five months in jail. Now I have a chance to get out and file my divorce and do whatever I want legally before he gets out.
My hope is that women who have and are still suffering years and years of abuse will seek help and get the support that they need. It always starts with the first hit with promises that it won’t happen again - but it does and it just gets from bad to worse. The longer you prolong it the longer you suffer, your children suffer, your extended family members suffer, and everyone suffers!