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Satinder's personal story

My name is Satinder and I arrived in Australia in 2008 for my studies. My life was going very well and I had amazing experiences in this beautiful country. I had a very rough childhood as my father was very violent towards my mother until one we had enough and my mother and I walked out. My only dream was to marry one girl for the life and to have amazing family. I met Nandini in 2012, when I drove her from the airport to the city in my taxi. We had a very good chat on the way and she insisted her I give her my business card, but I never heard back from her. One day I saw her profile on an online dating site and sent her a message, it was her. We started talking, she gave me her phone number and we formally started dating in 2013. She was very nice and she shared her past rough life stories with me, I gave her my hand and assured her that together we will be okay.

Nandini never use to hide things from me, we shared everything. One night when we went out for drinks she started crying. She revealed that she has been married and divorced. I was shocked to hear that as she never told me about marriage, just her relationships. I still consoled her and gave her my hand and didn’t question anything. We came very close to each other after that night and decided to get engaged and exchanged the rings on the sixth of October, 2013. We moved in together and everything was going fine.

One day when I was at work, Nandini called me and gave me the best news of my life. She was pregnant. I finished work as soon as I could so we could celebrate. She insisted on getting married ASAP. We tied the knot on the 24th of February, 2014. Throughout her pregnancy Nandini smoked at least 10-15 cigarettes a day. I use to beg her not to smoke but she never listened to me. She even smoked weed on average twice a month and was drinking at least a glass of wine every night. I asked my friends to advise her not to smoke during her pregnancy but she wouldn’t listen because they weren’t doctors. In early May, Nandini complained of having stomach pain. I drove her to the medical centre but we were referred to the Dandenong Hospital as the doctor believed it might be an early labour case. We went to the hospital and were later transferred to the Monash Medical Centre as the Dandenong hospital didn’t have many facilities for the premature babies. Upon arrival Monash staff just surrounded her and gave a few shots for Nandini and my child. We were praying that the child doesn’t come out this early as it was too early. But god wanted my child to arrive earlier than we expected. At 2100 hours on the 8th of May 2014, Manvi, our daughter was born. My child weighed just 602 grams. Even though doctors gave us less than 10% chances of Manvi’s survival, my child came out very strong. Manvi had her first surgery in the very first week of her birth and chances were very low. Later that month, the hospital told us that Manvi’s bowl has gotten infected. She was taken into another surgery and this time the chances of survival were even less than before. But our daughter was strong and even after 70% of the gut was removed she still lived. Nandini went back to work in July and worked until October. I was working full time as Nandini had sponsored me on the spouse visa. We were doing alright but Nandini wasn’t getting paid very much from Centrelink and had a loans and credit cards to payoff. I worked overtime to save a little to cover all the expenses in the house. I supported Nandini with a little extra I saved but it wasn’t enough for her. She started taking money out of my wallet and use to say “I needed it so I took it.” I tried explaining to her nicely not to do that but it didn’t work. Instead she became very aggressive towards me and use to raise her voice. I used to avoid getting into an argument but unfortunately she didn’t stop. She started demanding money more regularly. Considering I am a cab driver I would have cash on me all the time and I use to keep some at home for emergencies. Nandini started to threaten me of getting deported if I didn’t give her money. I never took that threat seriously as she use to have mood swings. On the 28th of JuneI was sitting in my backyard, she came and asked me to buy a laptop. We couldn’t afford it I offered my laptop to her instead but that’s not what she wanted. She asked me to take her to the shops but I didn’t have money. When she understood that I had refused her demand completely she pinched me very hard on my left upper chest ending in giving me a blue mark. I pushed her hand away to get it off me. She came again and scratched my upper chest and then she locked me out off the house.

She went into my work clothes, found my wallet, and cut up all my credit, debit and other important cards including my driver’s license. I begged her not to do it but she didn’t listen. She had a very high temper and I there was nothing I could because I was locked outside of the house. I called her parents so they could make her understand but they refused to intervene. When she started throwing and breaking my things I contacted the local police station. Upon arrival of the policeI burst into tears as I couldn’t take that torture anymore. All I wanted to leave the house. Officer Emily from the Dandenong police station said “You will be charged if I report something as we have to charge both the family members in domestic violence cases”. I obviously refrained from reporting it regardless of my scars and bleeding body in front of the police. That day I left my house. I took my belongings what little savings in cash I had. My wife alleged that I was stealing her money and Emily asked me to give her half of it. I did and left in very depressed state. I was then contacted by a police team called SOCIT,they issued me with an intervention order as the members of the police advised my wife made pretty serious allegations against me. She said that I had raped her, had tried to strangle her, had assaulted her during her pregnancy which caused our child to arrive prematurely, and that I had shaken our baby.

I was devastated. First she attacked me and how she says this. Everything that my wife alleged were false with no proof of it. The police didn’t bother to get Nandini or me to undergo any medicals to prove that. However, as my child was very little and on special needs, she was referred to the DHS and was taken to the Monash Hospital for a medical check-up. As expected, all the reports came out negative. The DHS contacted me for an interview. Deborah Thompson from the DHS spoke to me like I was a serious criminal and showed no respect as a human being. The way she questioned me made me feel really sick about the department’s mentality but I told her everything honestly. On the 6th of July 2015, we went for the interim hearing of the intervention order as it was being placed by the police. My wife told the magistrate that her husband is the best, had done nothing wrong and she didn’t want an intervention order. The magistrate reduced the order to the limited order until the final hearing. I thought my wife had probably learnt something from the situation we were in but it was just her way to bring me home to torture me more. As I went to work and she started taking my money again. On the 2nd of August Nandini overdosed on pills. She started throwing up on the bed and behaved abnormally, so I called the ambulance. She refused to go with the ambulance and police later got involved and forced her to go to the hospital. I found her suicide note, in which she said “my husband is innocent and I can’t bear this pain of not having my child with me’. I went to the court on the 3rd of August and the final order was made for one year. We were allowed to live together and I was not supposed to commit any family violence towards Nandini as she was the respondent.

Nandini was discharged after spending four days in the hospital and left for India the very next day, leaving our child alone in the hospital. As I only had supervised access to my child only twice a week, I requested Nandini several times not to go to India leaving Manvi alone in the hospital but she didn’t listen. As she returned to Australia in time for the Children’s Court interim hearing. Nandini and I were being referred to the Children’s court clinician to establish if we have anger and other issues. Since Nandini came back from India she started to lock her phone which never had happened before. I became suspicious but never asked her the password. She was still taking money out of my wallet but stopped talking to me and finally, on the 6th of October, she left the house and stopped communicating completely. I tried calling her several times but she wouldn’t answer. A few days later she contacted me and asked me to drop off her clothes at particular address far away from where we lived. I went to drop her clothes. A strange man opened the door snatched the bag, threatened me by saying “If you come even one inch closer to her, I WILL RIP YOU APART”. I was very scared and left peacefully without even asking about Nandini. Later in the week I received a call from my immigration agent saying that Nandini had withdrawn my sponsorship. I sunk into a depression, thinking about how I can never see my child if I get deported. I started feeling very anxious about anything. Nandini always made a threat of getting me deported as she had done the same thing with her ex-husband,who was being sponsored by her previously. I never thought she would actually do that. I had tried to keep her as happy as I could.

I felt I was being used, abused and taken advantage off. I don’t feel like a human being anymore and have never been on anti depressants before in my life. I was being put on a mental healthcare plan and luckily my psychologist was the only person who acknowledged that domestic violence against men does takes place. I showed the scars and wounds Nandini gave me in the last one year. I cried during my whole session with my psychologist and I was being told I am suffering from high depression. I was being asked not to worry, but a father who prayed for every day for one whole year for his daughter to safely come home from the hospital, how could I not worry? It’s not easy to live under such situations. I contacted the lifeline centre as I held a knife against my wrist as I didn’t want to be separated from my daughter. She is the only reason I am alive today for.

The DHS said they don’t need any evidence to keep my child away from me because they believe there is a likelihood that I might cause harm to my child based on my wife’s allegations. Allegations which she has put a few times and have taken back at least twice. My wife is constantly changing her stories and statements. In this whole situation I am the one who is unable to see his daughter based on the false allegations made by my wife. I am the only one who has to go through this pain without having done anything wrong. All the contacts I’ve had with Manvi under supervision were positive and there were no concerns by DHS, but my wife has only been to see our daughter just once in the last one month according to the DHS worker.

Men are suffering everyday and no one acknowledges “domestic violence against men” does exist but just doesn't get any recognition.

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