DVA Team: Tell us something about yourself.Just what you feel comfortable with
Survivor: I am 43 years old. I got married in 2018 to a German and in the same year reallocated to Germany. When l was in Kenya, my husband was a charming, loving man, and we never had issues.l started noticing the changes six months after arriving in Germany. He changed his attitude towards me, and we stopped doing activities together. He made a lot of promises that he never fulfilled. Although we had discussed and agreed when l l came to Germany, l would do an Ausbildung; he started to discourage me. He would say there is no need to work. He gave me money and even made sure l had a credit card for my personal use. l did my B1 German language course and passed and wanted to do the B2 but he discouraged me, pointing out that B2 was too difficult for me and l would not make it.
DVA Team: When did you realise that you were in an abusive marriage?
Survivor: All my movements were monitored and controlled. He had connected my mobile phone to his computer and his mobile phone. Anytime we went shopping and l told him l needed something, he would ask me five times, “Are you sure we do not have that in the house?”.
Car keys would disappear and he is the one who always found them.
If l bought a new dress, he would always make remarks like, “This dress would look good on you if you had bigger breasts”.
Sentences like, “I never said that! You are just making it up.You have become so forgetful….Oh! you can not do that alone.”
I started to second-guess myself. I thought there was something fundamentally wrong with me. I started questioning my sanity.
DVA Team: Did you ever tell him how you felt about his remarks?
Survivor: Yes,l did. Then he would use kind and loving words like, “You know how much l love you. I would never hurt you on purpose……(pause)……but he never changed. He was very unpredictable.
I started getting permanent headaches. I had several tests done, but the doctors didn’t find anything. My husband suggested that l see a Neurologist or Psychiatrist.
DVA Team: When did you start to talk to someone about what you were going through?
Survivor: The doctors suggested l get a counsellor, but l was unsure how to go about it. I lived an isolated life, so l had no friends. I called a friend in Kenya who gave me a telephone number from a Kwigian. It was through her that l got the number for DVA Team.
DVA Team: What was your experience with the DVA team?
Survivor: Without their support and encouragement,l would not have managed to walk out of that abusive marriage. Just them telling me that all will be well and assuring me that l will not be deported gave me the courage to pack my personal items and walk out. They gave me the right information, which was very important; this way, l did not make many mistakes. They advised me how to go about the immigration office.
DVA Team: The DVA team assisted you in getting a place at the Frauenhaus.How was your experience in this shelter?
Survivor: I got very professional help. The staff was very supportive. I went through professional counselling, and I am now doing therapy. But, of course, one has to share the kitchen, Ablution with other ladies, but for me, that was like a bridge to cross over to the other side of the river.
DVA Team:(laughs)…This is very encouraging. How do you feel today?
Survivor: First, let me say, it feels good to be free. I am enjoying my peace. I moved out of the Frauenhaus (shelter for women)and managed to get an apartment. I am also working. I am hoping to start a nursing course soon.
DVA Team: What would you tell people undergoing psychological and emotional abuse?
Survivor: The earlier they get out of such an abusive relationship, the better. My abuser was almost taking control over my whole life.