Marina*, 31, is a candymaker with bitter experiences. She endured violence in both marriages, then decided to seek for help and counselling. Now she is raising her three daughters on her own, whom she teaches to be independent and not to tolerate abuse.
“I am 31. I am a candymaker. I live in Tiraspol with my three daughters. I am in a second marriage, but I do not live together with my husband. A year ago, he was convicted of possession of prohibited substances.
Although I was in two marriages, the first was a civil one and the second was official. The scenarios were the same in both cases. I met my first husband when I was 19. I was attracted by his politeness and by his frequent small gifts. I lived with him for two years. When I got pregnant, I quit my job and didn’t work anymore. Then misunderstandings and quarrels started. I started visiting my mother more often and because of this, our relationship became tenser, as he was jealous.
After our daughter was born, he started being psychically abusive. If I went to visit my mother, he would think I was meeting someone else, and he would event say he is not the father of our daughter. He started to drink more often and behave aggressively. Two years later, he ended up in prison for assault. He was given to serve a sentence of six years. That’s how we broke up. I went back to live with my mother.
He was recently released from prison. I allowed him to communicate with the daughter, but, of course, he wanted something else. He asked me to divorce my current husband, so we could be together again. I didn’t want to. He used to call me every day, to stalk and to harass me. He threatened me and my mother. Not so long ago, in one morning, when I was going to kindergarten, I saw him following me. I also filed a complaint at the police, just for him to leave me alone.
With my second husband the story is similar, except he didn’t drink. He offended me too. He always left early in the morning and returned home late. I took care of his household in Taraclia, on the right bank of Nistru, and both daughters. We started having conflicts. He forbade me to communicate with my mother. When I was pregnant with my third child, I struggled with the household chores, as I had to feed the animals, do everything around the house. So, I decided to run away from him. I was helped by a neighbour, who was a police officer. He often saw me carrying water from the well with difficulty, and he felt pity of me.
One day, on my way to the well, I felt ill. He came to me, saying that this is indeed a difficult situation and suggested that I do something. He called an ambulance. Three months after the birth of the child he took me with his car to the bus station, and my godmother helped me with some money. That’s how I managed to get home to my mother. On the way in the bus, I found a flyer of the organization “Interaction”, with the phone number of their trust line. As soon as I reached the left bank, I called them. The staff of the organization helped me a lot. First, with the documentation, with the legal guidance in the process of obtaining the status of mother with many children and with the social housing, with food products, even with the enrolment of the children in school.
My mother supports me a lot. When I returned, she said she would accept me as I am, with all the children. Now I live with my mother and my older sister in a dorm.
Despite the remaining difficulties, my life gradually went back to normal.
I think if a man loves his wife, he should not beat her. And if he starts abusing you, then you shouldn’t endure it. It is better to leave and raise children alone than to endure the pain. I don’t want any more men next to me. I’ve seen few good things in my life. Endless quarrels, scandals. I want my girls to have a better life than mine. As a mother, I strive to do everything for them to be well, to be fed, clean, to have cloths, to learn.”
The CSO “Interaction” from Tiraspol offers Marina and her children a complete legal assistance, guides her in the process of receiving the identity documents and in obtaining the status of mother with many children, to later receive a social house. The organization also provides psychological support and humanitarian aid.
The One UN Joint Action “Cross-river Support for Human Rights”, funded by Sweden, strengthens the institutional capacities of the CSO “Interaction” from the left bank of the Nistru river and other members of the Sustainable (Community) Development Platform.
The One UN Joint Action is implemented in partnership by six UN agencies: IOM, UNDP, OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNICEF and UNODC.
* The real name of the protagonist has been changed to ensure their confidentiality.
Access here the article in Russian.