A woman speaks out on her domestic violence story and how her loving husband of more than 10 years, slowly wore her down with emotional and physical abuse, until the day she was forced to abandon her family and seek help from a crisis shelter.

Pat comes from overseas and she was married to her husband from Singapore for more than 10 years. She has 3 other siblings and described her family as loving and close knitted.  Since young, Pat has always dream of becoming a successful businesswoman and marry a good man to start a family of her own. When she was 20, she started a brick business in her village and supplied the villagers with building materials to build their houses. As soon as her brick business was stable, she decided to expand her business by going into F&B. She opened a chicken rice stall, which was a striving business back then, and raised all her livestock in a small chicken farm that she started.

During the 2000s, her chicken rice business started to crumble due to the spread of bird flu. All her livestock had to be culled, resulting in poor business and huge debts from the bank. As a result, she had to wind down all my businesses to repay all the loans.

With no intentions to remain in her hometown, Pat decided to visit Singapore and Bintan for a long holiday and it was at the ferry terminal, where she first met her “husband”. “I wasn’t familiar with my environment, especially Bintan and he gave me good informations on how to get around the island. We exchanged contact numbers soon after but we didn’t contact each other ever since as I was not interested in him,” she said. It was only during her second trip to Bintan, that they coincidentally bumped into each other during a game of bowling in a shopping centre. Their friendship developed from there and not long after, they started dating.

”I was 25 back then. He, was a caring man with a strong character and he brought me to explore many islands around Bintan for our dates,” she said. After a year of dating, he proposed to her at a Kelong, together with the company of his friends and both of them got married soon after.

Through their 10 years of marriage, they had 3 lovely children. He was the sole provider for the family, while she took care of the children and household matters. Despite the financial difficulties that they were facing, it was the simple life and her children that made her happy.

In 2010, financial issues started to loom when her husband quitted his job due to unhappiness at work. “He would change job frequently due to his ego, as he used to be a businessman,” she claimed. Pat elaborated further that her husband would often have conflicts with his colleagues and superiors when they made comments on his work. Once jobless, he would take long breaks, lasting 2 to 3 months just by staying at home.

In order to support the family, Pat decided to look for a job to help provide for their 3 children. “It was difficult, being a housewife all these while, without any skills and not having a Permanent Resident pass. I faced a lot of rejections from companies because of my pass status. It took me awhile before someone offered me a job as a cleaner,” she said. During these times, Pat mentioned that her diligence and responsibility in her work have earned her recognitions from her colleagues. Through her minimal earnings, she was able to provide a small income for their family.

A year later, Pat was promoted as a head cleaner but her husband was not pleased. He began accusing her of infidelity because she was always on my phone due to work-related matters. “I don’t know exactly when it started going wrong and he would tell me that he didn’t like me talking to other men, even if it’s a woman whom I was talking to,” she said.

The domestic violence gets physical

It was during one evening, when Pat got home from work and was confronted by her husband. He had accused her again of seeing another man. This time, he started raising his voice at Patricia and wanted her to quit her job immediately. They started arguing and her husband soon turned violent and punched her in the eye, causing her to suffer from a badly bruised eye and 2 broken teeth. This was the first time that he had attempted physical violence on Pat. Although he had apologized for his actions, the incident has left her badly traumatised.

The following day, when Pat was back at work, her colleagues started to question her about the bruised eye. She cried, “I dare not speak a word because I don’t want them to find out that I broke my teeth as well. I mumbled and told them that my son accidentally knocked his head onto my eye when I was woke him up in the middle of the night.”

On another occasion, Pat’s husband became jealous over a phonecall and SMS from her superior. He flew into a rage, took her phone and threw away the mobile SIM card. He told her that he would get her a new one and asked her to quit her job immediately. He also ordered her not to contact any of her colleagues with the new mobile number.

The abuse started to progressed as jealousy took the better of him. He would accuse Pat time and time again that she was having an affair with another man. One night, he chased her out of their home and threatened to send her back to her hometown without the children. Pat was scared and left helpless, without any money or fresh clothes but only her passport.

Without a kin or any close friends in Singapore, she approached a church to ask if she could sleep over for a few days. The caretaker was very kind to offer her some money to stay in a hostel while she seek permission from the Pastor.

After 2 weeks, Pat’s husband learnt about her whereabouts and he brought their 3 children to the church to plead with her to return home. He promised to be good to her, but above all else, it was for her children that she agreed to his request.

For 2 months she thought things were getting better. He soon started doubting her fidelity again and accused her of having an affair. He claimed that she could not have possibly lived in a church for 2 weeks, and must have been seeing some other men to survive.

He later took his anger onto their eldest son, whom was the closest to Pat.  Whenever he gets abusive, he would make their eldest son do pushups or beat him with a belt and even to the extent of kicking him. At times when Pat’s husband wanted to abuse her, her eldest son would try to protect her from his Father, screaming, “Don’t beat my Mummy! If you are a man, beat me!”

Pat exclaimed, “All these episodes have caused my family much pain!” After knowing that her husband had plans to cancel her long-term pass and send her back to her homeland, Pat decided to return to her previous job without her husband’s knowledge, all in the hope to convert her employment pass to a work permit. Yet her plans could not be kept at bay as he soon found out about her job and Pat was asked to pack up and leave the family immediately. “I was depressed, knowing this would be the last chance I’m giving him. I quickly went to lodge a police report because I was worried for my children,” she said.

Without any resolutions or proper help, Pat was left with no choice but to seek help from the church again. For the next 2 months, the church was her temporary home as she carried on working to earn a living for myself.

A few weeks later, Pat received heartbreaking news that her eldest son had to be hospitalised for 1 and a half months, after being badly beaten up and abused by his father.

Leaving Domestic Violence

After Pat left her husband, she knew I could never go back to him. He became jobless and could not provide the children with the necessary attention. There was no proper food and nutrition for the kids and he had no money to pay for utilities.

“Last year, I decided to file for a divorce. Not because I don’t love him but I want a new life for my children. A happy life, free of abuse and violence,” she cried. “Now my children are older. I will continue to provide for them for they are My Life, My Everything.”

Disclaimer: Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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