I told Mum it was okay if she wanted a divorce and we’ll go through this together.
We were a happy family back when we were in our country, my mum, my sister and I. My dad works for a multinational company, so he used to live overseas but visited us every few months. He once suggested that we all move to New Zealand since he thought that we’ll have better opportunities and better education there. When I was 15, we moved to New Zealand. My sister who was 7 at the time and I started at a new school and we were settling in. But slowly, we began to realise that things were not as promised as what we had been expecting from this migration. The agency who helped us with our visas and immigration process had tricked us. Life was getting difficult at this stage. We also noticed that my dad’s behaviour towards us started to change. He was getting very aggressive towards us; he’d embarrass us in front of outsiders. It would be the worst for our mum, she was taking the worst sides of his anger. When we cried, she’d tell us that dad might be really stressed about the sudden migration and he’ll be alright later when we settle down. When Dad went back to his workplace, all the duties came upon my mum (and I must not forget to mention she never worked back in our home country). She couldn’t communicate in English and was repeatedly put down by my father for this. She tried her best to get things sorted in this new place alone since we didn’t know anybody in New Zealand.
My little sister and my mum had to walk very long distances to get to school every day, for Mum it was four times a day. She soon became sick doing this. We told this to our dad and noticed he was not ready to listen to us. This was not normal in our family since we always helped each other or at least provide mental support. We began to see this change in our dad and the changes began to grow more and more as time passed. He would tell us how we are not cooperative and how we couldn’t do anything. We would question our self-worth at that point. Although he lived far away from us, we were scared to displease him.
Our life changed completely in short time. We were clueless in a new country and lived in fear of our “new dad’’. I had to miss school to help Mum with communications and to get to places as she was not a confident driver or to take her to a doctor. I could feel something was not right since I could hear her cry all night. I tried to understand from a distance what was going on. When Dad called her, I could hear him yell at her from the other side. I saw her health drain and sometimes she’d take her frustrations out by trying to harm herself.
Upon further investigation, I found out that my mum was being cheated on. When I revealed this to my mum she was devastated. When Dad came home he became really violent. Things got worse every day. Screaming and shouting all the time. I tried to distract my sister from all this but all the screaming and yelling was so vivid (there were more stages to this violence which will be too hard to describe here). I told Mum it was okay if she wanted a divorce and we’ll go through this together. She was too scared to do so as she thought we needed our parents to be together for a good future. She’d only cry (she was also pregnant at the time). I couldn’t see this anymore. Depression hit me and I decided to kill myself. It was then when I was thinking all this, I observed my sister was drawing a picture of our family and captioned it “when we were happy”. I realised I cannot give up. I have to fix this for her. She deserves a normal life. But things were not normal at home. Mum wanted to go back to our country and Dad did everything to keep her here.
I approached him one day and told him to let Mum go and live there until the baby is due. Until then, I’ll stay here in New Zealand and attend school. I’ll convinced mum later to come back here. He seemed convinced and let mum go back. Meanwhile, I took help from my school counsellor and she taught me how to talk through family issues. My family is stable and happy now. I got involved with Shakti later and how I wished I knew Shakti before. I thank God every day for giving me the strength that time to hold on and work to make my sister’s drawing come to life.