Bavani Pillai – Social Worker at the Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence (PAVE)

The passion to help others spurred Bavani to take up social work modules in National University of Singapore (NUS), where she immediately realised her calling to go into the social work profession.

In 2010, Bavani met Madam Susi*, a mother of two.

Madam Susi suffered from repeated physical abuse by her husband, who constantly threatened to kill her and her two children if she reported him to the authorities. Fearing for her life, Madam Susi spent most of her married years living with relatives, friends, and at women shelters.

Feeling distraught and depressed, Madam Susi attempted suicide one day.

Bavani arranged for a shelter to take Madam Susi in, after which she set up a community safety plan to work out a solution with the police and Madam Susi’s neighbours. This support gave her the confidence to stand firm against her husband.

Bavani also visited Madam Susi and her daughters regularly at the shelter for counseling as well as to track their improvement. Although the sessions were difficult, Bavani did not give up.

The counseling sessions enabled Madam Susi to tap on her biggest support systems –her children.Slowly, she began to realise that she was not at fault for her husband’s abusive actions and that she was stronger than she had allowed herself to believe.
Besides counselling them, Bavani also managed to assist them with other issues, such as helping them through financial difficulty, and applying for the Personal Protection Order (PPO) and Domestic Exclusion Order at PAVE when Madam Susi’s husband continued to harass her.

Though the process was long drawn and emotionally draining, Madam Susi made great progress. By the end of the year, she rented a room with her children after selling off her matrimonial flat.Eventually, Madam Susi’s husband also stopped harassing her upon realising that she was serious about enforcing the PPO against him.

Today, Madam Susi is finally free to live in peace with her children, free to be hopeful about their future together.

*Name has been changed to protect client’s identity.

Link : Bavani Pillai – Social Worker at the Centre for Promoting Alte

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