"After years of emotional, financial and physical abuse he finally threw me out from the house. I was 8 months pregnant..."
"I moved to Ireland a few years ago after getting married to a man who was a total stranger to me. My marriage had been organized by our families. I had high hopes about my life in Ireland as we were very poor back home.
"When we moved here, my husband quickly made me realize how unwanted this marriage was to him. I received a spousal dependent visa (Stamp 3) but he stopped renewing it after sometime so I lost my legal status. At the beginning of 2020, after years of emotional, financial and physical abuse he finally threw me out from the house. I was 8 months pregnant, I had no legal status in Ireland, no money nor a place to live. I moved to a women's refuge, they helped me apply for independent immigration status. They also advised me to go to the social welfare to ask for help. The welfare officer told me that I wasn’t eligible to apply for any help and that she should technically have me removed from the country. She said that the INIS doesn’t appreciate people getting help from the government, and that they will remove me from the country. I left the office in fear and with no help.
"The time I was allowed to stay in the refuge ended just as the Covid19 started, again I had no place to go. In total desperation I turned to my neighbors for help, they gave me a roof over my head, food and stuff for my child. I'm still living with them.
"One day I came across a Facebook group "Pakistani women in Ireland". I messaged them and their group Admin, a woman called Hamda got in touch with me. Hamda was and still is a great source of support for me. She came to see me in person, and other members of the group supported me with their kind suggestions and knowledge. Hamda also directed me towards a domestic violence support group (ODVSS). Their support worker is very supportive and she came to see me and brought me some basic stuff kindly donated by people.
"She still keeps in touch with me.
"Throughout these hard times, I feel that my child and I have been greatly let down by the authorities but at the same time we were able to survive due to the kindness of strangers. I have met the nicest people during this bad phase of my life and I am very thankful to each and every one for all the support we have got. If it wasn’t for them, my child and I, we wouldn’t have survived. I am still waiting on the decision about my immigration status."
Dependent immigration status (Stamp 3) can be used as a tool for coercive control and emotional violence. Migrant women on Stamp 3 are vulnerable to losing their legal immigration status if their spouses refuse to renew their visas. In such situations they cannot access services, and are left destitute.
Migrant women form many grassroots support networks to provide guidance to women who face barriers in accessing support for victims of domestic violence. They provide essential services and at times are the only support for victims of domestic violence. They are all volunteers and receive no support from the authorities to carry on their work.
Visit our Gender-based violence campaign to learn more about this issue and find available supports.
Please note that to protect her identity, we have used a different name and photograph.