*Names have been changed to protect the identity and safety of the clients.
This is Lina’s story. She is a mother and wife who endured severe abuse from her husband, who is also the father of their children. She is a survivor.
Since her marriage, Lina has experienced severe violence from her husband for over nine years. She constantly lived in fear with her children. Lina said that in order to avoid being beaten, she obeyed her husband and tried to do whatever he asked. She thought it was the only way.
Before Lina got married, her husband had lied to her that he was getting a divorce and he was single. When Lina found out that he was lying, it was too late as she was already pregnant with her first child. After Lina had the child, her husband gave the baby to his first wife and restricted Lina from seeing her baby. She was constantly beaten, and restricted from socialising with others, including her family. Lina had escaped several times, but her husband always managed to find her. And when he did, he would beat her up again and bring her back to their home. Lina also tried to get help, but her husband was very influential, that all her efforts were in vain, leaving her feeling helpless.
When Lina was pregnant with her second child, she was still continuously beaten. Her husband’s first wife had left him, so Lina’ was reunited with her first born child. She continued to fall pregnant and even after their fourth child, the beatings didn’t stop, the abuse just got worse. She was also continuously threatened. Lina shared that her husband had pushed a 9mm pistol into her mouth and said, ‘’I will kill you and say that you killed yourself.’’
The abuse Lina endured included physical assault, marital rape, stalking, threatening, emotional, psychological, and also financial abuse. Because Lina had tried to escape before, her husband didn’t give her extra money, but just enough to buy food for the family. Meanwhile, the perpetrator went around with other women.
Lina recalls how her husband would force her to find another woman so that he could have sex with them both. Lina couldn’t bring herself to do that. So he forced her and a young woman, who was his relative, to have sex with him. He would forcefully have sex with his relative, and force Lina to watch. And when they refused, he would beat them up. Lina was also made to remove her clothes and stand naked in front of her children, while he would tell them, ‘’Your mother is a slut, a pamuk.’’
Lina had ended up in the hospital so many times with bruises, and would get treatment, but never issued a medical report because of her husband’s influence. She was not only scared for her safety, but also the safety of her children who had witnessed the ongoing violence perpetrated by their father. She made up her mind that she had enough, and that her life, and the life of her children were more important. She knew that she would not get help in the province they were living in, because of her husband’s influence. She had to leave with her children.
But leaving her husband wasn’t going to be easy. The only way was for Lina to make him believe that she would be an obedient wife, and would never leave him. While doing that, she was also giving some money to her aunty to save for tickets to travel.
With enough money saved, Lina waited for an opportune time. At that time, her husband had trusted her enough to send her to do his flight bookings for his trip out of the province. That was her chance, the opportunity she had been waiting for.
The next day after her husband left, Lina picked up her children from their school, packed a few clothes into a plastic bag, and took the next flight to Port Moresby. She had learnt that Femili PNG was operating the Bel isi PNG Case Management Centre and safe house. She had called a Femili PNG staff in Lae when boarding the plane. When Lina and her children landed at Jackson’s airport, she had no place to go so she called another Femili PNG staff in Port Moresby, and was advised to go straight to the Bel isi PNG Case Management Centre (operated by Femili PNG) with her children. From there, she and her children were assisted with safe accommodation.
Lina was assisted to access other existing services such as the police, medical care, court and Welfare. The Court ruled in her favour, granting her a Permanent Protection Order after she had obtained an Interim Protection Order (IPO).
Also with the support from her family, Lina is now safe, and starting over with her children. She said, ‘’My biggest concern is my children. The ongoing problems affected their education. But now, as long as they are safe and happy, I am happy.’’