Wives return and are abused again

Wives return and are abused again
PHOTO: The New Paper

Erin (not her real name) has had her head bashed against the wall, beaten and even stripped naked by her husband in front of their children.

"He treated me like garbage," said the 37-year-old.

She endured the abuse for months. Yet, each time she ran away to stay with her friends, her husband would beg for forgiveness and she would return to him, only to have the cycle of violence start again.

"Even my friends were fed up of me," Erin said.

Read also: Man strangles wife, 6-month-old daughter

Erin's case is similar to nearly half of the 192 domestic violence survivors sheltered by Women's Aid Organisation (WAO) in 2015 and 2016.

"As many as 44 per cent of them attributed their return to the abusive situation to their husbands indicating their willingness to change," said WAO in its report The Perspectives of Domestic Violence, launched during an International Women's Day event here yesterday.

It pointed out that 114 or 59 per cent of the victims tried to leave their abusive situations at least once.

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For Erin, who is an Indonesian married to a Malaysian, she had no one to turn to, especially when her husband turned abusive after her fourth child.

She said when the abuse started in 2014, he stopped renewing her social visit visa. He did not even register the birth of their child.

"He would scold me often, hit and pull my hair.

"Sometimes, he bashed my head against the wall, strangled me, tied my hands and left me naked in front of the children," said Erin in between sobs, adding that she had been burned with cigarette butts and beaten with a vacuum cleaner and wood.

Read also: Breaking the silence on family violence

Once, she claimed he threatened her with a machete by placing it on her head.

Unable to stand the abuse anymore, Erin lodged a police report and the authorities sent her to the hospital where she was warded for a day.

"I asked for protection and the hospital referred me to WAO and gave me some money to go there," she said, adding that she now hoped to find a job and a place in Malaysia to stay with her four children.

Drawing from 21 case studies, the WAO report presents 14 "Highlights" and 18 "Recommendations" to, among others, the Parliament, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, the Home Ministry, the Education Ministry, the police and the Legal Aid Bureau.

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