The following post discusses domestic violence and mental health issues and might be triggering for some readers.
Prisha* was 10 years old when she and her family migrated to Sydney from Uttar Pradesh in northern India.
After graduating high school, she studied to become an engineer – the same profession as her soon-to-be husband.
While she describes her family as modern and education-oriented, they were also quite traditional too. Marriage happens when you’re young – and it is arranged.
Profession, culture, shared Hindu religion and caste are all taken into consideration.
They found her a match. He ticked all the boxes.
“But what we didn't know is that he was abusive," Prisha tells Mamamia.
Women and Violence: The Hidden Numbers. Article continues after video.
In June 2021, Monash University and Harmony Alliance released findings from the country's first national study into the experiences of migrant and refugee women, showing that one in three women had experienced some form of domestic and/or family violence in Australia.
Further, 42 per cent of the 1400 respondents had experienced physical or sexual violence; while 91 per cent reported experiencing controlling behaviours.
For Prisha, “it started very, very slowly". She speaks with confidence and measure as she illustrates how she saw things that didn’t seem right, but dismissed them.
“What you often see and hear in the media are examples of really escalated physical violence. What is not shown are the smaller, more gradual things. It didn't begin with aggressive physical violence for me.”
It started with control.
“There weren’t red flags, but yellow flags,” she explains.