Introducing myself and my journal

Melanie Tonder
Posted December 2, 2012 from United Kingdom

About Me:

What I am most passionate about is helping people in need. I love working with and supporting them to help improve their circumstances and their quality of life.

I was in an abusive marriage for 10 years. I wasn't beaten, but there was a lot of emotional abuse and threats.

I was born in South Africa, but moved to the UK in 1998 after getting married to my British husband. I realised very quickly that the man I fell in love with, was not the same man I married. He suffered from depression and controlled every aspect of my life. I was not allowed to have my own bank account and had to pass all my money over to him. He also threatened that if I ever left him that he would make sure that I would leave the country with nothing. Over the years I tried leaving a few times, but he had such a hold on me that I kept going back to him. I was lonely and weak and believed that nobody cared if I was dead or alive.

I didn't think anybody would believe me, as I didn't have any bruises to show... I tried getting into a shelter for women, but was told that I was not a high enough priority to them as I was not in a violent relationship. I would have to pay, but I had no control over my money, as he had access to all the bank accounts.

In the end he would not let me see my friends, I rarely spoke to my family and he would follow me when I went out. On occasion he would threaten to kill himself and storm out of the house. I was so lonely and I did not have the support of my family as they were too far away and he alienated me from my friends. It took me a long time to build up the courage to eventually leave. I ran away and lost everything, the house was repossessed, he took everything else and I was left with a lot of debt to sort out. I thought my life was over. It was a very dark time for me, but I discovered that I had more friends than I thought. One of my friends let me stay with her for a couple of months before I found a small flat near to where I worked.

Then I lost my job, but I thank God that I was living in the UK, as I was able to claim benefits to pay for my flat and have a roof over my head. It was winter and very cold. I had no heating, no furniture and no winter clothes as I had to leave it behind in the house. I managed to buy some winter clothes at a charity shop and used Freecycle (second hand items that people give away) to get a bed, fridge, curtains and bedding. I was angry for having to live like this, but my friends helped me.

One of them was a friend I have known for as long as I have been in the UK. I discovered what a wonderful man he is and we have been together for 4 years now. He is giving and caring and he loves me for who I am.

And this is where I am now. In May 2008 I thought my life was over. In December 2012, I am with a wonderful man who loves and support me. I am sorting out my debt. I have almost completed my degree in International Development, which I started in 2009 and was mostly funded by grants. I am not rich and I don't have a permanent job, but I am so thankful for everything that I have. I don't want money or things, because they can be taken away from you in an instant. I also know that there are so many women who are far worse off than me and I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

What I care about and am passionate about is helping other women and girls live in freedom and safety, so that they can have control over their own lives and have a voice.

My Passions: International Development and Aid

My Challenges: Finding a new career helping women and girls

My Areas of Expertise: Administration, Communication and interpersonal skills, IT skills, finance skills

Comments 2

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  • Fatima Waziri - Azi
    Jan 10, 2013
    Jan 10, 2013

    Hey there! Welcome to PulseWire!

    It’s so exciting having you with us, I am sure you will have a fabulous time with your new online friends as well as find this to be a very positive experience. I encourage you to take advantage of the numerous resources and features available through our vibrant online community.

    Welcome again to our global community and I look forward to hearing more from you here on PulseWire!

    Mar 11, 2013
    Mar 11, 2013

    Hello, I just read about you life and I must say you are a woman of great will and power. I thank God for making you pass through all that because its was like preparing you to be a great person. I hope you will meet many like minded people here that will replace you sad pages with happiness . Love Lucy

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