European Union External Action

16 Days of Activism - A survivor's story

03/12/2020 - 03:53
News stories

EU partners ZOA and the Federation of Social Development Organizations (FOSDOO) are working with vulnerable women to address a range of issues including sexual and gender-based violence.

I chose my own partner, my family beat me when they heard I’d married him and threw me out. I was working as a volunteer for an NGO after the war ended and my husband (then unmarried) got my number and we kept in touch. Eventually fell in love and ultimately got married. We were very happy together in our first year of marriage. The next year I gave birth to my eldest, a daughter, and he started drinking when the baby was 3 months old. My life began to become hellish and he became extremely suspicious of my fidelity and violent towards me. He also started to drink all his earnings away and did not save or leave anything to support the family.

With my own family throwing me out, we were living in his village alongside his family. Due to his family’s interventions, he would periodically stop drinking, but then eventually start again and I couldn’t bear it anymore. There were times I had to sustain my children with only tea because I had nothing to feed them and eventually I saw them start to faint from hunger. Unable to bear it, I took on work at a garment factory, but neighbors reported that he was ill-treating the children in my absence, so I had to give it up.


Thus I couldn’t go out to work, he was not handing over his earnings even to feed the children, and last August after a prolonged bout of days long drinking and violence, I could bear no more and ran home to my family in Kilinochchi. They took me in, but were worried as to how to support me and my three young children as they are poor themselves. Even so, my mother and brother pledged to support me. In the meantime, my husband had been desperately trying to reach out to me but I was refusing to speak to him. I was determined not to go back.

FOSDOO staff came to hear about my predicament, reached out to me to see how they could help, and eventually mediated with him too when they came to know he was repeatedly reaching out. Due to moving from one district to another when I fled the domestic  violence, the police in either jurisdiction were claiming not to be the right jurisdiction to file a report in, so I had not filed a report initially. FOSDO negotiated with my husband to stop drinking and to be a more responsible breadwinner for the family. He readily agreed and even came to the police station himself to register the complaint that I had against him, as per FOSDO’s request.  He then pledged to me that he would never drink again and that he would be a good father and husband and so with much convincing I returned back to my marital home - and he is holding to his pledge. He goes to work regularly now and comes home without tarrying at the tavern, hands over his earnings and plays with the children. Before, the children used to be terrified of him, now they are building a relationship with him as a father as children should. He is also being a very considerate, good husband too. I gained back the man I married. I am grateful to FOSDO’s intervention in the matter. I am happy now.


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