Lilit is 25 years old and has a 5 year old son. For many years she was in a domestic violence
relationship when her husband would beat and humiliate her amongst other abusive things. Her husband
was also a regular user of alcohol and drugs and in Lilit’s own words “he would become a real
monster when he used [alcohol and drugs]. When he would beat her he would intentionally hit her head
and face, he once shoved her into a wardrobe and tried to strangle her to death."
After yet another cruel beating Lilit was left home alone and managed to escape the house with her son and go to the police, from where she was referred to the Women’s Support Center immediately.
After initial assessment, by the WSC professional team, it was clear that she is experiencing heavy trauma, her health and mental state were distorted, and her attitude towards her future was alarmingly hopeless. She was admitted to the WSC Safe House, received socio-psychological counseling to heal and afterwards to redefine her goals for the future. The WSC social workers also escorted her to the necessary medical centers to regain her physical health. Her son received sociological counseling once a week and slowly started showing signs of psychological recovery; and restarted attending kindergarten.
Lilit was registered at the state unemployment agency and after regaining her self-confidence and self-esteem and having clear goals for the future, she left the shelter. She was hired as a part time nanny/house worker with a one year contract. Her working hours and conditions not only allow her to be with her son and dedicate time to raising him but also allow her to bring her son to work on occasion.
The WSC is in contact with Lilit on a regular basis for monitoring and general support purposes, as well as for the continuation of her psychological counseling over the phone with the WSC psychologist.
“In the beginning of our marriage things were ok. We loved each other. Then he started to get very
nervous and upset for nothing. I was trying to do everything I could to please him but nothing
worked. I thought once we have a baby he will change but then while I was pregnant he blamed me
that all I think about was the baby and he started hitting me – even in my belly. I was devastated
and afraid of losing the baby but then he would come with flowers and apologize. I thought that
things will improve from then on but after a while things got worse.
Years passed and the intensity and frequency of the beatings increased …I don’t know why he was beating me, I tried to understand but there was always something that would make him explode. I don’t remember. When the beating was very severe and I could not speak, my lip and eye would be swollen then he would plead with me to forgive him. He said he will change and was being very nice to me, bringing gifts for the kids and helping around the house. I was thinking that maybe he got scared that he could have killed me or that I might leave him. I felt sorry for him because he looked so lost. I also did not know what to do. I was ashamed to say anything to anyone. I had no money and no place to go. I was thinking that the kids need to have a father. They were afraid too; my eldest daughter at the age of 5 started to wet her bed at night. I felt she was very scared of him. I was hoping that the last beating would be the last time, but then It seemed that everything was repeating again and again.
One day after 9 years of marriage he threatened to kill me. He took the kitchen knife and waved it at me. I realized then that I have to get away….he was becoming uncontrollable and I could not tell what would happen next. Years back he would just slap me and belittle me and that was very hurtful. Now he threatens to kill me or he beats me severely and throws things at me. I remember how much I loved him. I still do when he is not violent. All the gentleness went away. He forces himself on me to have sex with me now even during days that I don’t feel well or once when I had a fever. I hate it. I feel sorry for my kids. I don’t know what to do. “
When Gayane came to the Women Support Center she was traumatized, confused, in shock. We offered her and her two children shelter; she attended all the counseling sessions; we strengthened her self-confidence and rebuilt her self-esteem. Our children’s psychologist worked with one of her daughters to alleviate the fears she had. Eventually Gayane was able to find a job, rent a room on her own and live in peace. WSC helped her with legal aid to obtain a divorce and alimony.