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"Having hope about life is really important. My faith in God has helped me; I have strong feelings about this as I dreamed that God gave me strength..."

About my culture
Settling in Australia
At the beginning
Dealing with it
Doctors, hospitals and other supports
The hardest things
Thanks to 
A piece of advice to others

Download a PDF version of Hatice's story here (108.7KB).

 


About my culture

I was born in Turkey and I have three brothers and three sisters. My father and mother are Muslims so we all grew up practising the Muslim religion. My religious belief gave me a lot of strength. My sisters and I decided to follow the Islamic dress code in 1988 and I found more inner peace.

My two sisters are both married and my family now lives in Istanbul, the capital of Turkey. I got married in 1990. I was introduced to my husband by relatives because he wanted to marry a practicing Muslim girl. No body forced me to marry him. I choose him because he became a practicing Muslim.

When my husband left to go to Australia, I lived with my family without any problem, however my in-laws always created big problems because of my religious beliefs and my Islamic dress code.

I came to join my husband in 1999 bringing my sons with me. My sons were aged five and seven at the time.

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Settling in Australia

For the first year in Australia our life was OK but after that I felt my husband started to change and there were always arguments. He became abusive and violent towards me and he was angry. It was like he wanted to live a single life again. He started to fight with my friends. I had started to make some friends from some different cultural backgrounds. I had one friend I used to see and my husband started a fight with her husband. Eventually I had to take out an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against him because he was fighting. When I remember how he used to behave towards me it is very painful and too difficult to talk about.

In 2003 I left him and I went to stay at a women’s refuge. In 2005 I left him again. I got separated in 2005 for the second time. He didn’t like to work because he was a lecturer in Turkey and in Australia he could only work as a process worker and found this difficult to accept. He was always spending time on the computer, not with the family.

My husband interprets Islam as he wishes and tries to use it to prevent me socialising with friends. When it suits him he tells me that it is OK to talk to a man out of my family but this changes according to his mood. He tells everyone including friends that the reason he kept me constrained to the home was because I was too liberated and I was doing things he did not approve of.

After my boys left in 2005 I couldn’t eat and I was vomiting.

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At the beginning

I was feeling bad and felt like I had lost everything, I had no hope in life, and wanted to take my own life. I am also a diabetic. Having these symptoms, I decided to go to my family doctor as being a diabetic person I know I have to take care of myself or I can get sick. My family doctor referred me to the psychologist. 

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Dealing with it

I started to see the psychologist every two weeks and this started to help me feel better. After I left my husband, I lost several friends as my husband said bad things to them and my family about me. I approached a lawyer and she directed that I should have shared custody of my sons with my husband. I got support from the department (DOCS) and now I think my sons have a better understanding of the situation.

After I left him he said bad things about me to my family. I felt very lonely in this country as I worry very much and can’t really sleep. Sometimes even now when I remember what he did to me, I find it difficult. Once I was so stressed that I was bleeding from my nose. I remember the doctor telling me the bleeding was because of all the worry.

Most of the time I was managing my situation and being functional. In 2005 I became ill, mentally ill. I had found friends from different cultures but after I left my husband I had lost many friends.

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Doctors, hospitals and other supports

Between 2005 – 2006 I was taking Diaxbex – Dimerchore, because I am diabetic. I also had to take medication for depression as my health was poor and I felt very weak and I also had to start take sleeping tablets so I could sleep. I haven’t read much about depression but I think my husband keeping me isolated and my family being so far away didn’t help and sometimes when I feel down I couldn’t go out for days.

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The hardest things

It is hard for my family in Turkey. They all worry about me. I wanted to bring my sister here. My sons were scared of their father, so they don’t talk much to me. My husband has a girlfriend and my husband buys expensive things for her.

For the last 13 months, I haven’t seen my GP. Nowadays I go to the mosque to a support group and also to a personal support program at one of the local employment centres. I pray at home three times a day as whenever I pray I feel better. Whenever I am sad I try to listen to religious songs or see a movie. I call my family and talk to them, sometimes when I feel down I still don’t go out for those days. I have a Kurdish psychologist whom I go and see for support. I have been seeing him for the last year.

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Thanks to

Having hope about life is really important. My faith in God has helped me, I have strong feelings about this as I dreamt that God gave me strength. In my dream I was poor and my grandfather came and held my hand, that was a strong experience.
I think Australian society has understood me well, the government has helped me with money and I’ve got more help from the Turkish mosque, Banardoes, and my Doctor who is a Turkish doctor. If I were in Turkey my life would not have been same.

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A piece of advice to others

I like to advise other Turkish people to get the knowledge to make their life free from stress. You shouldn’t stay with the husband in a domestic violence situation just because he is “your husband”!!!! You should think about yourself and your children’s safety.


Download a PDF version of Hatice's story here (108.7KB).

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