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Woman escapes from tyrannical husband

Woman escapes-Muriel Castellino.jpgShe fled with her 10-year-old daughter from Christchurch to Auckland one night and put a distance of many miles between them and her husband.

But to Gita (not her real name), the distance will never seem enough.

She was fleeing from her memories and hurt of a married life of 18 years that had unpredictably turned violent. Haunted by vivid nightmares of the past, she did not know how to deal with her emotions.

It was only through counselling that she found peace, the ability to forget and the courage to move on and make a new life for herself and her daughter.

The following is the story in her own words:

I was young and naïve when I got married and arrived in New Zealand. Everything seemed perfect. My husband had a great job and my in-laws were at hand to help.

Eighteen years is a long time and I thought I knew my husband well- a quiet man, at times uncommunicative, I thought. He suddenly became violent one day without any provocation. I thought it was an isolated incident.

It caught me by surprise when he hit me again three months later.

This time I was so badly beaten up that I had to see a doctor. I was in emotional and physical shock. My doctor advised me to complain to the Police but I was not ready to do so. It was a huge cultural ‘no no’ as he was the father of my child.

My daughter was witnessing the violence and my own self esteem was getting so low that I felt if I didn’t get out soon, I might just believe that I deserved this.

That was when I decided that running away was the only alternative.

I planned my escape meticulously. My sister lived in Auckland, but even speaking to her in privacy on the telephone was difficult. Finding a way to actually pack my things and leave with my daughter was tough.

On reaching Auckland, I stayed with my sister for a couple of days and then sought a Protection Order.

This fortunately also resulted in counselling, which I feel was one of the best things that happened to me.

Counselling at Home and Family has truly given me a new lease in life.

I am no longer fearful of my husband and have the courage to convey my decision to leave him. I am stronger in myself. I have started planning for the future, with my own commercial enterprise.

Having a culturally sensitive counsellor meant a lot to me.

Muriel Castelino understood my desperation and fear and helped me deal with them. My daughter also attended the sessions. She had issues of anger regarding violence, separation and problems of insecurity, having moved schools and home.

She has learnt to deal with her thoughts and feelings and is now enjoying school with her new friends.

Lakshmi Menon is an Auckland based writer, who strives towards community welfare.

Gita is a pseudonym for the narrator in the above article.

Muriel Castelino is an NZAC registered Indian Counsellor at Home and Family Counselling based in Mt Eden, Auckland. She is Group Facilitator and Family Court Counsellor. She can be contacted on (09) 6308961 for appointments.

Home and Family Counselling provides affordable, professional counselling to empower individuals, couples and families to lead balanced fulfilling lives.

Parenting through Separation is a free information programme designed by the Ministry of Justice.

What: Parenting through Separation

By Whom: Home and Family Counselling

Where: 344 Mt Eden Road, Auckland

When: June 1&8, July 6&13, August 3 &10, Sept 7&14,

Oct 5&12, Nov 2,9&30, Dec 7

Time: 630 pm to 830 pm

Contact: (09) 6308961

Photo: Muriel Castelino speaks to Gita

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