Often it is extremely difficult to get family and friends to hear and understand experiences of abuse because manipulation, coercive behaviour and gaslighting is hard to prove. Especially when there is disbelief and denial.
I will never forget the day *Indra told me this was something that happened to many, many women. It was a revelation to me that there were other women like me, that inTouch existed because family violence in migrant and refugee communities is such a big problem.
The fact that *Indra understood my culture meant I could begin to trust her and open up. She understood my sense of safety was tied up with my husband, that co-dependency as a result of coercion and conditioning was a challenge I would need to overcome. And she understood that any action I took could disappoint my family. Peeling back my beliefs, she would say “yes that is culture, but it’s still not ok”, “yes that is culture, but it’s still abuse.” It is because of *Indra that I now believe culture is only important to preserve if it empowers people. If not, it is little more than bondage, designed to hold women back with the chain of tradition.
With support from *Indra and *Jana from the inTouch community legal centre, I was guided through my visa application with a sure and steady hand at my back. Without these two women supporting me, encouraging me and helping me I would not be here today.