83. Jacklyn with her children came to Haus Ruth refuge center in Port Moresby after escaping her violent stepfather.
“When I was five my mum remarried. My step dad was an alcoholic. He would come home and beat my mum and tell her ’Take this bastard out of my house!’ And I would be there watching. And I didn’t know who the ‘bastard’ was. And I would wonder what this word really meant. But with all the treatment I was getting I realized that…
I was the bastard in the house.
My mum… ran away. I was left to stay with my step dad… Physically he used to really kill me half dead. He broke my nose… I have several scars on my head. He broke my finger, my lips… I used to carry a black eye and go to school… He paid a bride price for my mother… And when a man pays a bride price the children are his.
I was 18 when I got married… It was so embarrassing for me when dad would beat me in front of my husband. He would call my husband a dog… Dad beat him up very badly so he ran away…
My son was three when dad started abusing him… He was still using diapers, still learning how to talk… My son had bruises on his thumb and then he lost his finger… My stepfather stopped me from holding my disabled daughter, my little girl. He said ‘you brought curse into the family, don’t you touch this little kid, I’m gonna chop you out’. My kids are strangers to me; I’m a stranger to them… Ever since I came here (Haus Ruth) I’m beginning to learn… my responsibilities. I take every moment I can to hug my children, kiss them and tell them I love them.”

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