Mei


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I tried everything I could to make a good impression on my mother-in-law. My husband was lucky because he went to work every day. But I had to spend most of my time in the house. My mother-in-law would often insult me and call me names, like fat, lazy and ugly. Sometimes she’d pull my hair or pinch me so hard it left bruises. Since I was new to Canada, I thought it would be nice to live with my husbands’ parents. The familiarity of their household was a welcome rest from the strange new Canadian language, customs and very cold weather. But now I felt hopeless and isolated. I couldn’t work or speak English. My world felt very small. When I tried to explain to my husband what was happening, he refused to listen, telling me I should be happy to have married into such a good family. Then my mother-in-law’s favorite necklace went missing and she accused me of stealing it. I burst into tears and pleaded for mercy when she threatened to call police and have me sent back to China. Desperate and afraid, I confided in a friend I met at church. My friend connected me to an agency that was able to help me understand my rights as a new immigrant. They arranged for me and my husband to see a marriage counselor – one that understood our culture. There is still conflict in our family, but I now feel like I have somewhere to turn for help if it ever again becomes unmanageable.

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