Surviving abuse and finding the strength to leave: Indira’s story

“I just want to tell my story because I went through a lot abuse, but now I get out and I happy. I is me own boss and things going okay. But for long I want to tell me story because my birthday is March 8 and I know is a day has to do with women rights,” she said.

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day when women’s progress and courage are celebrated.

Fifty-two-year-old Indira Mangru visited our office and asked for me by name.

“I don’t know how you all does do it, but a friend send me to you because I been telling she I want to tell me story. So, I don’t know if you want tell me story,” she said tentatively.

“I was living in abuse for 18 years, abuse in all different description,” she continued.

I asked her if she wanted her name to be published.

“Yes, of course. Is nothing to be shame, is after 18 years with two man I make up my mind to be strong and walk away,” she answered.

She is a mother of four adult children, two each from the relationships she shared.

Her first relationship commenced when she was 19 years old.

“I had two relationships, the first person we use to live home and we had two children. He was very good but then he find drugs to smoke and things turn bad. I live with he for 11 years.

“After he find drugs, everything gone astray, he started to sell out all we things, even we clothes. He had a business and he destroy it by drugs, he sell the things to buy cocaine,” she shared.

“I never know how he first get the drugs. I use to question he but he never tell me. We use to live in Goed Fortuin and I decide we go and live at the Canal Number One conservancy because it was bare bush and I tell me self if we go and squat there he wouldn’t find drugs.

“But it was selling right there,” she said with a bitter laugh. “It was selling there and he continue smoking and I decide to separate from him. It was my house and I tell he to move out. He didn’t want to go but then he leave and went back to Goed Fortuin. He never knock me but I still call the relationship abusive because of what he put me through by selling out we things and when he smoke it was never a good time,” she said.

“I move on with my life. I reach with someone else and I get two other children. And that was another mistake in me life. He was hardworking but he didn’t like give me money. We never use to get food to eat and neighbours had to give we things. I live with he, going back to my mother coming back for a couple times. He use to beat me a lot, all in my head,” she recalled. She pointed to her head informing me that the scars are still there.

I asked her how she met her second partner.

“I was a domestic worker for a number of years, and I reach he by travelling. He was working a taxi. He use to like talk nice and so we get to start a relationship. I get pregnant with the first child and though I was pregnant he was starving me and plus he beating me with the big belly. He was living in my house on the conservancy by then, but I couldn’t talk to nobody, not even to tell the neighbours good morning.

“Is when he was not there, neighbours use to give me food or I use to ask them,” she said adding that she left him in the home many times and returned to her mother.

“When I leave him and went away one time, I decide to go back and work domestic and I stay away from him for one year. He was coming all the time to get me to go back, and after one year finish, I went back. When I went back, I spend only two weeks with him. The first week he treat me nice. The second week, he start bouncing me head into the wall because he wanted me to leave the job but I did not,” she said.

What triggered him?

“Nothing at all. Okay, like one night he come home and I cook egg curry and roti and the eddo in the curry like it didn’t boil good. He tek it and push it in my ears, me nose hole and rub up the curry all in me hair.

“If you see anybody pass and call at me is a licking. I couldn’t go to none of my family. I couldn’t get no friend.

“One time when he beat me, I couldn’t move me neck on it own. I use to have to tek me hand and help move it,” she answered.

I asked her if she ever reported any of the incidents.

“I use to report, but he use to beg me and I use to go back and forget about the police story.

“One time the matter went to court and he beg and the magistrate talk to we and then she ask me to stay back to talk to me. And then she tell me I must walk with four eyes, two in front and two behind me. And this just how I use to walk because he was a taxi driver and when I walk the road I always walk in fear. When he see me on the road he use to pass and make sign with he hand that he would cut out me neck,” she recalled.

“But I move away after the two weeks and I didn’t go back. When I went to work that day seeing that I made me mind up, I started crying in the people house. And they ask me why I crying, I couldn’t talk to them at the time. A big lady was there and she tell them to leave me let me cry. When I get up from there, I tell them what happen that I am not going back anymore and I just do my work and went home,” she said.

“When I move out the children were happy. The two big one use to live with their grandmother, but when I move, I take them but the grandmother them still use to help out. I live and become happy. He use to come back but I say no and he use to attack me and try to force me in his car and I hold out and I hold out. And he never use to look after the children I had to summons he for he to support them,” she shared.

“I live happy and then hear about this Neighbourhood Police and I leave the domestic work and I join eight years now and things going good,” she said proudly.

“Since I working, I apply for my own house lot, I start building my own house. I become happy, I don’t starve no more. I now could give somebody something. My advice really for women who is facing abuse is you could walk way like I did. Just find any job because if you don’t work you would go back because you have nothing to depend on,” she said.

“Right now, I building and I living with me mother, she live upstairs and I live downstairs with my last daughter who going to CPCE.

“I have three grandchildren and I really proud of me children. The boy he is a salesman, the eldest girl have a business and the second girl is a teacher. I am very proud of my children, as a single mother they would listen to me I didn’t have problem growing them. But I use to stir serious lash too,” she said with a small laughter.

“But all four of my children would check on me. They don’t want me to ask anybody for anything or borrow anything. But I like working because it is not so strenuous and I want to finish me house,” she continued.

“Is because my birthday is March 8, I just want to use the opportunity to show women what I pass through but now I doing better. Seeing that I walk off from that life and I living my life I am proud of myself, and I am happy,” she said as she beamed.

She has not had another relationship.

“Apparently, I don’t have luck with men that is why I draw margin. I done with men. I had a visiting relationship with someone else for about a few years and he start to cheat and that is how the relationship end. He always try to make up back but I say no. People would say you will find the right one and turn he down, but I done with men,” she said.

I asked her if her former partner still threatens her.

“He dead,” she said quickly. “He dead last September by accident.  After he see me not taking he back he start drinking and walking the road and a night like he drink late and something lick he down. I went to the funeral, but I did not go and see he face because he wished me more than a million bad things. But the last girl she did everything for the funeral and I give her the support all through. The other man, my first husband, he died about ten years and I went to his funeral too.

“I live now. I am the boss now. I go anywhere if I feel like. If my friends have birthday or we have Christmas party. I like dress up, so I dress up and I gone. I have friends.

“Now for my birthday I want to cook food and share to the people on the streets. You know if you look at them people and then at what I went through who knows if I could have end up there on the streets. It could be because of abuse, because I know the abuse use to trip me brain and I at least could cook and so and give but them something. I will talk to my friends and I would tell them let we come together and do it,” she said.

As she got up to leave, she put her hand into her bag and asked me if she “could leave me a lil something to buy lunch.”

I quickly said no and wished her all the best for her birthday. As she left, I felt proud of this sister she is doing well, and I am happy she wanted to share her story.

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