Beena's* Story of experiencing domestic abuse

My husband and I were introduced through a mutual friend in India. Our families met and thought that we would be a good match, so we agreed to meet. We were soon engaged and in 2017, we married, and he returned to the UK first and I would soon follow so we could be family

The first days of our marriage were happy and he was so attentive over the phone, but then the fights started. He would send me nasty messages. He didn’t like that I was working and that I was independent, but he also didn’t support me financially, so working was a necessity. I thought that it was the long distance that was causing the problems and that they would stop once we were together.

His parents put a lot of financial pressure on my parents and I. It got so bad that I got unwell and couldn’t sleep most nights. Our fights continued to get worse and he would shout at me over the phone, but kept telling me that it wouldn’t happen again.

When I eventually came to the UK, the first few months went well. It was nice to be in our home together at last. But he very quickly forbid me from working. He wouldn’t let me leave the apartment without him. He didn’t support me financially, so I had no money at all, not even for necessities. The fighting also started again. He got so out of control and would throw things – I was so scared. 

He’d shout so loud that he would have a sore throat. In between the fights, he became sweet and loving and I couldn’t imagine that this was the same man who would shout and throw things.

In 2018 I became pregnant with my son. I thought this would change him, but things didn’t get any better. The fights got worse and more frequent. I remember one incident where he twisted my hand so hard that my fingers bruised and swelled up. 

I realised that it was domestic abuse when I was about six months pregnant. He twisted my hand and his nails cut through my finger and it bled a lot. I told him that he was being abusive, and he said that if I argued with him in future, he would do it again but only much worse.

The fights disturbed me so much that my baby stopped moving a couple of times. I was rushed to hospital so they could monitor his heartbeat and make sure he was OK. His behaviour was already affecting our son. Whenever I was home alone though, I would cry. I couldn’t understand what I’d done to be subjected to so much verbal and emotional abuse. 

Still, I was hopeful that things would change once my son arrived, and I thought it best for him for his parents to stay together.

I had to have an emergency C-section due to foetal distress. When my son was born, things got worse. He even abused me the next day in the hospital ward. 

This time with my husband felt like I was living in a torture cell.

The nature of the fights changed; he got more aggressive, even threatening to beat me. He told me he wanted me to start paying rent, and that he would fight with me every day until I started to do so. I didn’t know what to do, as he wasn’t allowing me to work. This tension made it even harder to heal after the birth of my son.

I asked him not to fight in front of our baby, but he said it was in his nature. Soon, my son started to be affected by the tense situation around him, crying and twisting his body all the time. It was around this time that he also started shoving and pushing me. Things were out of control but I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t find a way out.

I was scared to death that he would somehow take my son from me if I tried to stand up to him. 

It came to a head when I was on my way to see the nurse. As I left the house he pushed me, demanding I leave both my son and my house keys at home with him. I didn’t know what I’d do if he decided to not let me in when I came back.

When I eventually saw the nurse, I broke down and told her everything. She called the police. The police helped me to get my son and my things and I went to stay with a family member.  

Now, I am being supported by Hestia and beginning to recover with my son. I am so happy now but I know there is still a long way to go, but with the support I am receiving I know I will get there.

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