Maria – My story

 * The survivor’s name has been changed to protect their privacy.  I came to the UK in 2015 and had got married the year before. I had no family in…

 * The survivor’s name has been changed to protect their privacy. 

I came to the UK in 2015 and had got married the year before. I had no family in the UK and my English was very basic but I wanted to start a new life. I told my husband that I wanted to find work and he seemed very supportive.

My husband helped me to get a job part time as a medical secretary a few months after living in the UK and my husband also helped me to open up a joint bank account with me. He told me I could use it to put my wages into it.

I trusted him so I didn’t think anything of it when he told me that the bank only issues one card and he would keep it safe for me. How thoughtful of him, I used to think.

I had no real access to the account and would never know how much was in it, or that he spent every penny I ever earned.

As time went on, my English improved and I was taken on as a full time staff member. My husband who was also in the medical field began getting suspicious and jealous. He would often storm into the surgery making excuses to drop something off. I thought it was sweet until I realised that he was just wanting to check to see I was where I said I was.

Luckily nobody noticed for a long time. I felt embarrassed but I brushed it off.

When the physical abuse started, he would throw things at me, whatever he could get hold of really but he never lay his actual hands on me. I thought that the police would not be able to help me until he physically harmed me. My mood at work became very low and I was quiet and withdrawn. I felt embarrassed to say my husband threw a remote at my head or burnt my hand because his food didn’t have enough salt in it.

I covered up any bruises or marks easily but did not dare say anything.

6 months later I got pregnant and my husband threw me down the stairs and hit me in my stomach. By this time I was too scared to contact the police. He wasn’t interested until his family came to know and they convinced him to be happy about it.

My baby was born and as he grew older it was apparent that he was on the autistic spectrum. When the doctor told him My husband flew into a blind rage. He didn’t let me and my son back into my house because according to him, my dirty genes caused this “problem”.

I then learnt that he had also cancelled my visa and I became very scared because I realised I didn’t know how this country would work or even be able to help me.

Luckily I had heard of women’s Aid through the surgery and I came across Bromley & Croydon Women’s Aid. They took action straight away and now I am safe and it might sound weird but it’s the little things that make me smile. I have my own bank account now and the first thing I got for myself was a card holder for my very own bank card.

I am hopeful that my immigration status will get sorted with the help of my support worker and I will be completely free.


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