She’s a survivor: How this woman left a violent husband and gained financial freedom

August 2, 2016

Banteay Srei staff in front of the safe house. Photo: Banteay Srei
Banteay Srei staff in front of the safe house. Photo: Banteay Srei

Beauty salons may not always be synonymous with feminist empowerment. But for Taevy*, a beauty salon supported her to earn enough money to leave a horrifically abusive husband.

Taevy is 43, and living in Cambodia with her 3 children. Her husband was physically and mentally abusive – she is still dealing with lingering injuries from one particularly awful incident when he stabbed her in the arm.

Leaving isn’t always easy.

If you have no money, no support networks and nowhere to go, it can feel like you have no options but to stay. Because of her injuries, Taevy was shut out of many jobs. This put her in the awful position of being financially dependent on someone who routinely made her feel unsafe.

Luckily, she wasn’t completely alone.

A place to call (temporary) home

IWDA Partner Banteay Srei do many things, but their safe houses have had an amazing impact for women in Cambodia.

These centres offer critical support services for women who are escaping violence. Once Taevy and her children were safe in emergency accommodation, Banteay Srei provided her with counselling and referred her to legal support so she could divorce her abuser.

The job that gave her back her freedom

Because of her injuries, Taevy wasn’t sure how to support her family. But Banteay Srei encouraged her to build on her favourite skills and pursue work in her local beauty salon.

“I’m living with my 3 children even though my family is poor but I’m happy, I have no scare or sad, I don’t suffering both physical and emotional any more. Compared to the income I earned while I lived with husband I am much better because my income is increased.”

So far, nearly 5,000 women are safer because of these services.

Their support to Taevy has been invaluable. She now hopes to build on her skills is in line to one day manage the salon. Taevy has this to say to women going through a similar situation:

“Women face with violence need to try to live independent…women have to live with hope in order to changed herself and people in the community.”

*name changed