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“Everybody has turned back on me, because I divorced the harasser husband”

I got married at the age of 21 but did not register our marriage. My story is very similar to many other stories – initially you are excited, you believe in love and hope for future happiness. But later on, you turn up in completely different reality. I lost all chances of self-development by getting married. Though I had lots of interests before marriage.

 

My former husband was a drug-addict. The person, who previously constructed dream towers for me, started beating me after the marriage; he beat me during the pregnancy too; once I fell off the stairs. Most probably it became reason why our child was born with hematomas and has eyesight problems. In addition to physical violence, I was subject of psychological oppression too – I was not allowed to go anywhere. Moreover, they [the husband’s family] protested visits of my relatives too.

 

I was not that strong then. I did not know anything about my rights. I was even afraid to speak up about the violence. You may ask why I endured it and did not leave the family immediately. I asked my parents and brothers to take me home but they refused me claiming – the people will start rumors, how can we keep you and your child; why I got married at all. When they last visited me, the parents tried to convince me to have the second child, because it could improve the character of my husband. How it could improve him? He treated me like a slave. And I left…

 

I lived in the nightmare … I was afraid everybody will start pointing at me and it really happened, when I arrived in my native municipality first time after the divorce.

 

I moved to live with my grandma in Tbilisi. She was not happy with it but there was no other choice … after a while we lost the flat and I joined my mother in her rented flat, who was working in Tbilisi at that time. I had communication with the father and brothers too but they used to warn me not to ask them for help.

 

Soon I again lost the shelter. My elder brother got married for the second time and made the mother to quit the job and move back to the municipality. I could not go there, because my family could not keep me. My mother left and in fact I turned up in the street.

 

I had to apply to the police and they took me to the shelter. I could not live for a long time there and left. Afterwards I started working in the casino. Horrible things were happening there; our rights were humiliated. Our bosses insulted us, because they believed they could do anything with the divorced woman. Actually, we were victims of sexual harassment. Once I even tried a suicide in protest. I could not stand it for a long time and left the casino.

 

Afterwards I was unemployed for a long time and lived in a flat with the landlady. Of course I could not pay the rent and she aggressively protested it.

 

I was fed up with my life and thought about suicide several times…

 

One summer I sent my daughter to my mother and I met a man, father of my second child, in the social network. I thought getting divorced does not mean stopping personal life and gave another chance to myself. Several months later we personally met and soon I discovered that I was pregnant. I wanted to do abortion because my parents would have killed me for it. But I could not collect money for the abortion. Although the father of the child warned me against having the baby, I delivered the child. The father disappeared. Later I found out that he had a family.

 

Nobody knew about my pregnancy. I cut links with everybody. I knew that everybody would scold me instead supporting me. I spent all 9 months alone. One nun and doctors helped me. I delivered the child in the maternity house of the Georgian Orthodox Patriarchate. The nun helped me there too and I did not pay anything. However, certain people were coming to me and asking to give up the child in exchange of money. They knew I had problems and the nurses permanently spoke about it with me. I was so afraid that they would give my baby away that I was keeping the child with me all the time.

 

I turned up in the worst situation after I left the maternity house. The landlady did not allow me to live in her flat with two kids; but I had nowhere to go. I did not know what to do and applied to the Saburtalo district administration for help. Luckily they rented a flat for me and I still live there.

 

Two weeks after the delivery I wrote to the father of the second child that I did not need anything from him but just inform him that he had the child. He once or twice visited us and paid communal bills. Nothing more. Last year he came and beat me for having the child despite his protest. Then the police issued restraining order on him and he never appeared. I am fed up with so many struggles. I have been claiming alimony from the father of the elder child for 10 years already but in vain.

 

My second child was one month old when my family learned about him. They had horrible reaction. But why were they surprised with it?! When I needed their help most, they did not accept me and kicked out in the street; what did they expect from me?! My brother was an officer in the Khoni municipality prison. He abused and beat me; he even tried to suffocate me. Once, he pushed me into the car in front of my elder daughter and took me to the mental hospital.

 

I live with problems and tragedy since then …. The worst period of my life has passed and I had to cope with all these tragedies alone. However, I did not surrender. I suggest the same to the others, who live in the same situation as I do. They must not be afraid and must not surrender. If they know more about their rights, they will be more protected from physical and psychological violence. The most important is that they should not keep silence and give in. Just the opposite – they must be stronger and assist the others.

 

Today I have overcome the worst situation but still have much to do to bring up my children in good environment. My daughter was often insulted because she was wearing torn dress and that she did not have a father. I also felt aggression from the parents of my daughter’s classmates. They were saying I should not say anything because I was bad mother for having divorced the husband and having the second child without marriage. Otherwise, I do not know many of the parents and how could I do any harm to them.

 

It is the real reason why I cannot find a job. How can you find a job when you are degraded in any potential job, when they learn that you are divorced or have a child without marriage?

 

T.

 

Single mother from Tbilisi

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