The issue of domestic abuse is once again casting a shadow over Maltese society following the tragic murder of Chantelle Chetcuti last week by her former partner.
Unfortunately, Chantelle is just one of many women in Malta who have gone through a traumatic and terrifying relationship that has left many scarred, bruised and dead at the hands of their abusers.
In reality, domestic violence has been happening for decades and to this day, there appears to be no real solution to the problem.
In light of recent events, Lovin Malta spoke to another victim who lived through domestic abuse at the hands of her husband and father of both her children. Sophie* was put through 18 years of domestic abuse, held to gunpoint, threatened and even stabbed by her husband while she was pregnant.
Sophie recounts her own tale of domestic violence below. Though she was put through hell and back, nothing is worse than finding out that 20 years later, Maltese women are still being forced into the same situations that Sophie went through and some are paying for it with their lives.
“The thing that has hurt me the most wasn’t the fact that he was violent but the fact that I am still reading the same stories today. 25 years later and nothing has changed,” she said.
WARNING: Disturbing and traumatic accounts of domestic violence below.
We were married for six years but it was the minute that I became pregnant with our first child that he became more abusive. He would hold a knife or gun to me every day. One time, he even stabbed me in the foot while I was pregnant because my son left a toy on the floor.
When I would report him to the police, they would just brush me aside, tell me to go back to him and things will be fine.
At one point I even reported him to the police commissioner and nothing happened.
After six years of marriage, we separated but the abuse didn’t stop there. He used to follow me around and point a knife at me, making gestures that he would kill me. On one occasion, he came knocking on my door wielding a gun. I tried calling the police but it was useless, they just said “you should come and report him to the police, what do you want me to do, send the police to your doorstep? You should come here and file a report.”
Eventually, I mustered up the courage to take him to court but quickly found out that the police had changed the court date so that I would miss the hearing. My son overheard the police telling his father “don’t worry about it, we’ve sorted it out.”
That is what is hurting me the most. The police sometimes even cover up for these people.
Here in Malta, we still live in a culture where the women submit to the man. The man has all the power.
After 18 years of abuse, I had enough. I had to find the courage within me because there was no help from the police. They didn’t want to help me, they wanted to destroy me even more.
One day when he appeared on my doorstep I looked him in the face, grabbed him and started shouting at him. When he realised that I wasn’t going to take it anymore, he finally left me alone.
I know what it is like to suffer under the hands of a perpetrator but this isn’t about me, this is about the fact that this is still happening today. There should be some sort of entity that protects these women.
So many women have given their life and been hurt and have suffered but nothing has been done, it’s just all talk.
I’m still on edge to this day. He’s still the same monster that he was 20 years ago.
I pray that he will die one day before me so that I can live just one day in total peace.
*Names have been changed for the protection of the individuals involved.
If you have been affected by this story or want to speak to someone about your experiences, you can contact the organisations below.
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