Jag Moondi’s abuse started even before she got married. “That was a huge red flag, but in the back of my head I was worried about what my family would say,” says the Mom of two who endured an abusive marriage for many years. “I didn’t want to embarrass my parents or have the community talk about them.”
Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic began, it seems domestic abuse has skyrocketed and some, according to the Battered Women’s Support Services in Canada, have even lost their lives because of it.
But for me, it still feels like this is not being openly discussed in our community. I want to change that.
My Abusive Marriage
Twelve years ago I thought I was marrying the man of my dreams. That fantasy quickly changed when I began what soon became a long nightmare. I lived through it alone, letting everyone believe I was living the perfect life.
For the first five years of my marriage, I kept my family, including my sisters, in the dark. Even after telling them the truth and begging and pleading with them not to intervene, I stayed for another five years. In September 2017 with the support of my family and despite the threats to my life, I finally found the courage to leave. With two young children ages four and five, I left an abusive marriage and the life I had known for over a decade.
Not Happily Ever After
With no financial stability, plan or knowing how I was going to make things work, I set out to start a new life for myself and my two kids. No matter the struggles and challenges, I just knew I had to get out and give myself and my children a better life. We would get through them together.
This is not how I imagined my life to be. I never thought I would get divorced or be in an abusive marriage. Like most little girls, I envisioned the man of my dreams, planning my wedding and picturing the perfect life and marriage I would have. A fairytale romance was in my future filled with love, companionship, a wonderfully doting husband with kids and a nice house.
I did not imagine having to think twice about what I was going to say in fear of what could happen if an argument escalated. Personal items were broken and thrown all over my bedroom floor. Walking on eggshells in my own house not knowing what the day would bring. I did not imagine having to hide my tears and putting on a smile for the world to see. Nor did I think I’d stay in an abusive marriage for ten years. Staying with a man who laid his hands on me wasn’t something I ever thought I’d do.
But the life I created for myself over the last two years is better than any I ever imagined. And the best part is that I get to do it with my two precious children. This is our little family of three. This is our life. And we are going to live it well.
I hope that anyone else who was or is currently in a situation similar to mine, knows that they are not alone. It’s through hearing similar stories to our own that we are able to feel inspired, gaining hope as our thoughts and feelings are validated.
How to Tell your Parents about an Abusive Marriage
Now when I think about it, the best thing would have been to tell my parents. After I did speak to them, they told me they wouldn’t have cared what anyone said in the community. They never would have let me go through with the marriage.
I think we tend to make up expectations in our heads about what we think our parents want for us. But if we openly communicate with them, we’ll see that what they really want is their children to be happy.
When I wanted to leave my marriage, I didn’t know any single mothers or where to turn to find resources. I worried about the unknown. Where would my children and I live? Fear kept me stuck.
That’s why I started a support group called Meri Saheli (meaning my friend), providing a safe haven for women wanting to share their story, access resources and get the help they need.
We offer help, healing and advice for those impacted by domestic violence, grief and marital problems including support for single parents and financial literacy. If you just need to talk, need a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear to listen or a helping hand, we are here.
Everything Happens for a Reason
Every single one of us has a story to tell, but some of us can’t do it openly yet. As I reflect back, I have to believe that everything happens for a reason. Perhaps mine was to use my voice and share my story so that others in a similar situation may have the strength and courage to leave an abusive marriage, giving them hope and empowering them to live their best life.
Find out more about Jag’s journey here.