WLOG 006: Memories

This blog on the topic of violence against women is published on purpose within 16 Days of Activism.

Source: B92

It is published in order to raise awareness of frequency of (gender-based) violence within population of refugees. The story is based on real events and series of interviews conducted with a(n) (Info Park) beneficiary who agreed to share her story. That is why this blog does not have an author, but the authors are all the women who survived violence.

By: Anonymous author

Photo: AMISOM Public Information, 2013_06_06_SRSG_Kay_Somali_Women-24

My husband pushed me for the very first time in the living room, when I was pregnant. I know it may sound stupid, but he was nervous that day. It was very warm. Now I remember the heat better than the pain from the punch. It started from the forehead and went down through my whole body, all the way down to my feet, which were freezing.

The second time he pushed me at the same place, in the living room. I was pregnant again, but with our second child, and this time round we weren’t alone. It was our daughter’s birthday party, so he had drunk a little. He pushed me in front of everyone and everybody noticed and started yelling at him. I felt different than the first time. I didn’t feel heat, but pain. I crossed my arms across my belly to protect the baby and lie like that not moving, while the others attacked my husband. I felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for our birthday girl as well, who was watching all that.

We left our country three years ago with our daughters. We’ve stayed the longest in Turkey, two years. We wanted to reach Europe at last and start living differently. Both of us worked at a shop. It was my cousin who hired us. Then we were supposed to be separated, I was to be transferred to one of the shops, and him to another one, but my husband wouldn’t let it. He said I wouldn’t work if we were not working together. At first he threatened me for couple of days, and in the end he beat me up.

It continued after that as well. We lived in a camp in Greece briefly and we had other problems there. I caught a cold, but my condition got worse because of my low immunity. We were supposed to get going, to continue the journey. Borders were open and we were able to continue, but I was so sick and tired that I simply could not do so. He beat me up again. This time in the camp, in front of everyone.

That was the first time I spoke about it, in Women’s Corner in the camp. It’s strange, how everyone thinks they can help you, and actually they can’t, or don’t know how. They suggested to me different things. No one cared for me, or the children. The camp management separated us but they reunited us two days later. I gained strength again and we continued the journey. We crossed an icy river on the journey.

We spent a year in Serbia. I was tired from the journey and from everything. The worst thing is I started to be scared. He beat me and he was aggressive. He would usually get drunk and start yelling. We had a separate room in the camp which wasn’t good. He could do whatever he wanted to in there because no one was watching. People knew what was going on, but they tolerated it. I wanted us to be transferred to Belgrade due to medical reasons. There we got a separate room again and everyone knew everything, but acted like it’s none of their business, like they didn’t want to pay attention. I spoke about the problem for the second time, this time on my own initiative. I started talking to the organisations about what was going on. I trusted one of the translators and a couple of women who wanted to help me. But they didn’t know how to really, and neither did I.

Again I was advised to leave him and take shelter. I was offered to be transferred to another camp, alone with children, and to be hidden from him. I was offered to be moved to an apartment at the other end of the city. I understood what I was being told, but I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t feel safe. I decided that this was a journey that would end one day in a better country, in a better place. There I’ll do it. There I will be ready to do it. He saw I had changed and he noticed I had started talking to other people and he beat me up again. Maybe this journey should end here, I thought. This is why I started thinking about taking my own life. I didn’t feel like going anywhere anymore, I couldn’t go through it again. This is how all of this should end, should stop.

I decided, however, to continue the journey and go on with my life. I gathered strength when we were notified that we could go to Hungary, with the list. We were next on the list. I was happy, but I don’t know why. I wanted to talk to someone about everything, but I didn’t know who. Those who would talk to me wouldn’t justify my leaving. They are not happy for me, I can see it in their eyes. They feel pity for me when they talk to me and cannot help me.

We packed our bags for the road, went out of the camp and headed for the station. He took out the cell phone and started taking photos of our daughters. Then he stopped a passer-by and gave him the phone to take a photo of all of us together. A family photograph for memories.

We left Serbia, the place where I shared my secret with someone. It’s not a secret anymore. I want everyone to know this story. Whatever happens to me, they should know, that to me this was all a big journey and I don’t know where I’m going anymore.

This blog is based on everyday-life stories of women refugees and migrants who are currently residing in Serbia. The blog was written by an author whose name has been changed to protect her privacy and was produced by Info Park with support of UN Women in Serbia with an aim of shedding light on the situation of women refugees and migrants. The views and analysis contained in the blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of UN Women, the United Nations or any of its affiliated organizations.


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