Abby & Mark

Abby married Mark in 1995 and had three sons.

When Abby and Mark were first married they lived with her husband's relatives, who were verbally and emotionally abusive towards her.

In 2001, Abby and Mark moved into their own place with the children. Mark started to drink alcohol day and night and was abusive to Abby, at first verbally and then physically.

One night he came home drunk and demanded money to buy more alcohol and when Abby said she had none he lifted Abby and the twins in the air and dropped them on the floor. Afterwards, he cried and apologised. The next day he came home from work drunk and again demanded more money for drink. When Abby told him she had none, he pulled her by her hair and dragged her down 11 steps and kicked her in her chest. Her sister, who was visiting Abby at the time, tried to save her, but Mark was too strong. Abby had a huge bruise on her chest.

Abby told her family about the incident and they followed her to the police station, where she reported the matter. The police said they would transfer the matter to another station but they did not do so and the matter was never addressed.

Abby and the boys stayed with her parents but when Mark came and begged for them to go back home, she went.

Mark’s father started to visit every Saturday to speak with him to ensure that all was well and to calm him down, but in 2004 his father died. After Mark’s father’s death the abuse intensified. One day a male neighbour asked him if that’s the way he should treat his wife and he came home and accused Abby of having a relationship with the man. When spread rumours that he had come home and found the man in his home and had run him out, the man beat him and he left the home.

When Abby called Mark’s family, they said he had gone to Trinidad and was never coming back. But Mark returned a few weeks later and continued to be abusive towards Abby.

Two Help & Shelter community workers (male and female) visited Abby’s home to share information about domestic violence. Abby told that them that Mark was abusive. He asked her what nonsense she was talking and she said isn’t that what you did to me yesterday, beat me up? The workers left their numbers and made an appointment to return. When they did, they offered to counsel both Abby and Mark separately. When Mark said that he didn’t want to be counselled by the male counsellor as he was young and unmarried and didn’t know anything about family, he was referred to a pastor in the community. The pastor visited the home to counsel both parties, but Mark was always reluctant.

Abby started to call Help & Shelter day and night for counselling. She was glad that she had somebody to listen to her without being judgmental.
Despite the counselling, Mark continued to drink and abuse Abby. The neighbours would call the police but when they came they would just issue him a warning. Mark tried to put some steel rods in the ground under the hammock where Abby would sleep during the day, but Abby saw and this and confronted him about it. Mark laughed and when Abby reported the matter to the police they did nothing. One day, Mark threatened to burn down the house so Abby went back to the police station. One officer mocked her but another came and said not to worry and that the police would act on the report.

When the matter went to court, Mark was order to undergo 8 weeks counselling He moved out of the house again and went back to his family. He stopped going to counselling and was charged for not complying with the court’s order.

On Valentine’s Day 2010, Mark went to Abby’s house. He grabbed her by her hair and threw her down. Abby called the pastor, who called the police and made a report. Mark was arrested and sent to prison for 6 months.

Abby obtained protection and maintenance orders for herself and her children. In January 2011, when Mark had eased up on the drinking and stopped being abusive, Mark and Abby began living together again. Abby is now a community worker and no longer lives in fear.