PETALING JAYA: It is Saturday evening and two women are busy preparing dinner for their children in a small flat.
The calm scene belies the fact that P. Paramesware and C. Manjulah are not only single parents, but are also former victims of domestic violence.
Paramesware recalls the times her husband would come home high on “ice”, or methamphetamine, a potent recreational drug.
“He would hit me or wake me up at night when he’s high. At the time, I was working on our farm. We didn’t have any financial problems, which is why I found it strange that he took drugs. I found that he was influenced by friends to try it,” she told theSun.
“After 10 years, I had had enough. I told my sister and stayed with her for a few months. I finally decided to move away and lived in a shelter for women like me. The organisation helped me to find a job as a cleaner.”
Although it has been three years since she has been independent, Paramesware, 39, dreams of having a home catering business.
“The extra income could help my son with his future,” she said.
Manjulah, 37, agrees with Paramesware.
“It’s important that our children are not neglected,” she said.
The mother of three from Kajang said once, she needed stitches on her head after being hit several times.
“I had just bought groceries for my children, and he (ex-husband) asked why there was extra food. He was so drunk, he stomped on my head. It all happened in front of my children.”
The incident still lingers in her daughter V. Vaishnavi’s mind.
“It happened when I was 13. I had to help Mama as she had been beaten too often. I scolded my father to stop. But of course, he didn’t. I told Mama that we needed to move away,” said Vaishnavi, now 16.
Manjulah decided to call the authorities, after which she met Paramesware at the shelter where they stayed briefly.
That was three years ago.
Although the two families are safe now, the duo intend to give their children the best they can. With each earning less than RM1,900 a month, they found themselves in a tight spot, having to pay RM900 in monthly rent, school fees and expenses to put food on the table.
They were among the applicants for Carlsberg Malaysia’s food aid programme, an initiative in partnership with theSun.
“As our salaries are not enough, it would be good to have extra cash aid to buy food. We can barely get by,” said Manjulah.