I am a female from one of the nine Cree Communities. I just want to share my experience I had as a married woman. I was married for close to 15 years. I was about 17 when I was told to get married… as my late grand father’s request. My husband and me talked about it, and we thought there was nothing else to do but to get married. I used to tell my husband that I was afraid to get married and he would tell me that everything would be okay. It was really comforting to hear those words from him and I knew in a way I wasn’t ready to make that big step in my life.

The day before my wedding, I told my father “let’s run away so they won’t find us tomorrow.” On my wedding day, everything went well until that evening. There wasn’t a dance I remember on that day because my grand father had passed away a few months back. My husband was getting ready to leave to party with his friends, I knew then it wasn’t right for me. I begged him not to leave, I remember telling him to stay home for a change; because he was always out with his friends before we got married, but he didn’t listen. I was so sad and frustrated, I was left at home on my wedding night and I was crying away.

Three months passed when one of my friends came over to my house telling me that my husband was fooling around. I didn’t like what she was saying but in a way I was thankful knowing the truth even though it broke my heart. I felt so hurt, betrayed and lost. I confronted him about what I heard, and of course he denied it. He was so good at lying, all through my marriage. The thing that really helped me during those times were my friends, by just listening to me talking about my problems.

I can now say that I was abused in every way: physically, verbally, emotionally and sexually. Over the years I was told to be quiet about it, because I would get it if I said anything to anyone about what was going on. I couldn’t even tell my parents because I didn’t want them to worry about me. I was even hiding my tears from everybody in my family. When a person is physically abused, it is very hard to express their feelings to anyone because they are afraid that their husband will know that she is talking. I am telling you this from experience.

I know it is very hard to press charges on your husbands…you feel that you are scared, afraid that he might hurt you again if he knows of what you did. The first step is the hardest, that I know.

I remember when I used to get beat up by my husband, somebody would call the police on us. I learned a lot from the police, they taught me so much about my rights. I learned that I was raped by my own husband; even though he was my husband, when a woman says no, it supposed to be no. Every woman should know this because I know men are so forceful to their wives especially when they are angry. I remember one of the times when I was at the police station for my statement, the policeman asked me: did he rape you?… I was thinking…rape you?…but he’s my husband. I couldn’t say anything and that’s when the policeman started to explain more things about this.

As years went by, being abused and all, I learned more about my rights. I used to go to the clinic just to get away from home. I had this doctor that I used to talk to and he gave me a lot of comfort by talking. He really helped me a lot. He was the first person that knew that I was getting out of my marriage. He knew pretty much about my abused life. I had this problem for a couple of years. I had hair loss that was pretty bad. I got treated for a year so I had to be followed by this one doctor and I can say he started to know about my problems at home. After being treated for a year from the hospital, at the end they told me there was nothing wrong with me. The doctor told me I just needed to fix my problems at home and he was right.

That same year I filed for a separation. It was hard for all of us, especially for my kids. I used to be all stressed out before my separation but now it’s all different. My parents didn’t approve of what I was doing. But I don’t want anybody telling me what to do anymore because that’s what I was doing all my life. It didn’t work out. Sure I love my parents but it’s time for them to let go.

I really feel sorry for all the woman out there being abused by their own husbands. I know there are a lot of woman like that everywhere. I’m glad I’m not one of them any more. It takes a lot of courage to do this but I feel it’s better for my part. On my first year of separation, there were a lot of rumors going on about me but it didn’t bother me. My doctor was warning me about this and he also told me to get ready for the people. I never understood why people were so harsh to me when they didn’t even know what I went through. Now I don’t let it get to me as what people are saying.

My ex-husband started a family somewhere else and now lives with his girlfriend. They have a couple of kids together. The first time when one of my friends came to me to tell me that his girlfriend was pregnant, it was the hardest part that I had dealt with. I asked him a couple of times if it was his and he used to tell me that he had nothing to do with that. Many times I believed his lies and I guess his lies caught up to him. I used to think I would be with him forever because I was married to him. I loved him very much but there is so much that a person can take in life.

I know a lot of people are judging me because I left my husband. In the Bible it says, “Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce, but I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness…” under Matthew. There is also a verse about judging others. People should look into that before they start talking about other people. They don’t seem to understand they are hurting a lot of people by doing the gossiping part.

On the first year of separation it was pretty hard for all of us. My parents didn’t even want to look at me because they didn’t accept what I was doing. At one point they said that they didn’t care if I lived or died. They really wanted me to go back to my husband. My family disowned me in a way. It tore my heart apart knowing that they didn’t care. The only part that brought me up to my feet again was a dream I had about my late grandfather. That was the day I went to court for my separation and that same night I dreamt about him, telling me that everything was going to be okay. He also told me that he loved me and he’s not going to stop no matter what. It wasn’t wrong what I was doing. He knew that my family abandoned me and said that he never will. On that day when I woke up I felt so good. I couldn’t stop smiling all day that day, cause I knew my grandfather was watching over me. Before I had that dream I used to pray to God and asked Him to show me what I was doing wrong. I knew that my prayers were answered right there.

When I went to court I asked for custody of all my kids and was granted. I asked for child support and it was granted. The judge even gave me papers to show the cops for my ex-husband not to harass me in any way. He can’t take my kids without my permission, and if he tries he will be charged for kidnapping. I can say now that everything is pretty much under control. I now have decided to leave him for good. I can’t go back to him because there is nothing there any more for us. I won’t let anybody control my life no more. I was thinking on filing for a divorce in the near future.

There is so much spousal abuse in our community and it seems like nobody is doing anything about it much. I wish people around here would understand that there is so much that a person can take in his or her life. When a person gets out of a relationship like that, that’s when the judging part steps in for the community. I wish they would just stop hurting other people by talking behind their backs. That’s all I have to say.

Thank you.