Ravneer was in an abusive marriage at the age of 22. She was scared of ruining her family’s reputation and suffered years of abuse in silence.
Ravneer was born in (Punjab, India) where she lived with her family for all of her childhood years. Her family was very open-minded, different from traditional Indian culture and she led a happy, independent and sheltered life. Once she entered her 20’s, she found her love of her life and her parents supported the decision. Just after her marriage, Ravneer and her Husband moved to Perth. Life was looking bright in a wonderful new Country.
However the bubble of happiness didn’t last long and red flags started appearing very early on in the marriage with controlling behaviour, nasty words and constant humiliation. This quickly escalated into physical, emotional, financial, mental and psychological abuse. When he beat her it wasn’t just the pain and bruises, but the sense of shame she was putting onto her family and the torrent of earth shattering insults that would follow – not just from her Husband but his family as well.
The psychological abuse and mind games also hit a peak. She was constantly being told she was ‘nothing’, ‘a lazy woman with no voice’ and ‘nobody will ever want you.’ “It was typical of an old traditional Indian mentality where the male is in control of the relationship, making all the decisions, and there is no equality“. Said Ravneer
She was also constantly humiliated in front of his family members who joined in on the insults, putting her down and telling her she was ‘useless’ and ‘wanting to be the queen of house’. Her husband was raised into the tradition where male domination is the power and control of the whole family. If there were disagreements in the relationship, the only way out would be physically hitting, verbal abuse and mental abuse.
Typical of this situation Ravneer was also isolated occasionally from her family and friends and was forced to spend time with her Husband’s family. She was scared, lost and alone and above all did not want to bring any shame or humiliation to her family so continued to suffer in silence.
After 10 years of being beaten, humiliated and degraded Ravneer made the brave decision that she had to leave now or she never would. She was scared and broken but she realised that she was also strong and determined. She got in contact with her family and they helped her to leave her Husband. When she did, her Husband made it seem like she had overreacted and made her feel guilty, turning it all back onto her and saying it was all her fault. He made her doubt herself and believe she was to blame.
Luckily, she had the full support of her family who helped her to see sense. She started seeing a wonderful counsellor and very slowly started seeing the light at the end of a very long dark tunnel.
Ravneer is still in the process of getting divorced and fighting for her justice through the legal system. Her determination, family support, counsellor and domestic violence units are helping her get through this dark time. She is doing extremely well in her career along with her Montessori teaching qualifications.
Platforms to raise awareness and to share her story, such as the CCK International Women’s Day, have also increased her confidence and given her new connections across the local community.
Ravneer wants to support other women in the community who are facing domestic violence, abuse and toxic relationships. Empowering women and helping them overcome situations like the one she has lived and survived.
“When women put their mind to something they have the power to heal and change the world” Ravneer said, “I would encourage women to put a lot of support in place and make a safe plan for themselves before they leave, and find out what agencies are there to help them”.
Support numbers can be found here.
In the end, I will say,
“I raise my voice – not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back” – (Malala Youssafzai)