Vanuatu Women's Centre

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Rose lived in a violent relationship for a long time before she decided to break the silence about her life story. Rose is married to Sam, and they have four kids. Sam stalked her when she went to the garden and often asked her if anyone had come over to their home to talk to her or ask her for sex. He accused her of sexual affairs whenever he saw her talking to a relative. This made Rose fearful, and she learned to hesitate when talking to people. She experienced physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. She said she was restless and fearful every day, and her children have also been continuously facing the same violence. Several years ago, she was admitted to the hospital with a head injury. She was encouraged to lodge a criminal report against Sam for the incident, but she was not referred for counseling and did not report it because she felt pity for Sam.


Among the many incidents of severe physical abuse was one where Sam falsely accused her of having a sexual affair, just after she delivered their first child. After beating her severely, he ordered her to remove her clothes, tied her hands, forced her to climb a big banyan tree, and told her to stay there while he went to get his knife. Despite her fear and nakedness, she jumped down from the tree, injured herself more, but was able to reach a plantation security staff residence, and they brought her back to the village.


The chiefs from their village heard about what happened to Rose, so they called for a meeting with Sam. They also encouraged Rose to lodge a criminal report at the police station, but she was scared of Sam. He beat her because the Chiefs had found out what happened and her children were very scared. He often threatened to kill her, had destroyed all their cooking pots, and provided no food or money for school fees. Many people had told Rose that Sam was doing all this to her because she gave too many chances, but Rose was frightened of him and of the unknown path she may have to take.


With no financial support from Sam, Rose and her children made a fish pond at their home with assistance from the fisheries department. She sold some fish for 5,000 vt and was happy that she would be able to pay school fees. Sam took the paper money, cut it into three pieces, and threw it in the fire. He then ordered his children to bring him their money tin, which he also threw in the fire. When Rose tried to tell him that the children’s money tin was not hers, he beat her so badly that she lost control of her bowel and urinary functions, and Sam’s actions following this were too depraved to report here. He threatened to cut the necks of her and the children (who were forced to watch) if anyone was told about the incident.


Nevertheless, she reported it to the Chiefs, who ordered Sam to pay a fine, and she took her kids and they ran away to her birth village. The threats to kill her continued, so Rose went to an authorized person (appointed under the Family Protection Act) in her village, and they went to the police station and filed a formal complaint. She lived in fear for another six months after that. Finally, in 2021, she learned about SCC when there was a domestic violence workshop in her birth village. This workshop empowered her to talk to a counselor about what she had been facing all her life, and she approached SCC staff for counseling in the evening after the second day of the workshop. This resulted in her applying for her first FPO.


This was also a breakthrough for the SCC counselor, because it was the first time that she had a client where the man was arrested and charged under the FPA for all the inhuman treatment he had inflicted on Rose and her children. SCC liaised constantly with Commander until the perpetrator was arrested. Since then, she has been empowered to return to get SCC’s help with applying for family maintenance. During the last follow-up session with Rose, she said that her husband is now on

bail for two years and is currently living in a de facto relationship but is no longer supporting her with her children. The battle for justice continues.

Names used a not real name of clients

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