Growing up, Tina Sharma dreamed of being married. She dreamed of being a model. She wanted to build her perfect life. Tina was independent growing up and staunchly protected her loved ones – but no one guarded her against her partner.
Tina is now in her 30s and resides in London, where she was born and raised. She is one of the millions of women who experience domestic violence in their lives, and Tina is sharing her story with LWOS Life.
Trigger Warning: Domestic violence, abuse
Tina Sharma left school and embarked on her dream to become a model. At the age of 20, she met her future husband. They met through a mutual friend and Tina describes it as “an instant attraction”. Soon, they were spending all their spare time together.
She fell head over heels when they met all those years ago. Despite having lots in common and both being ambitious, looking back, she now recognizes the red flags she saw at an early stage. Recalling a red flag before they began dating: “Soon after we met, he looked up my car number plate through his job – finding my address where I lived with my parents at the time.” Tina continued: “One day, he just showed up at the house. I was a little shocked – but I was young and naive.”
“I was a young, hopeless romantic, and innocently thought, he must like me if he’s going to all this trouble.”
“We dated for seven years, and we had ups and downs like every couple.” She continued: “But looking back now, there were so many red flags, but I chose to ignore them. He tried to control me, but I convinced myself it was me.”
As their relationship continued, Tina ignored the red flags she kept noticing: “I ignored the red flags. I kept my focus on the reasons why we clicked and our shared passions and hobbies instead.” She continued: “I honestly thought things would improve once we got married.”
“I ignored the red flags […] I honestly thought things would improve once we got married.“
After seven years together, they decided to get married despite Tina carrying a burden of worry about her partner and his controlling behavior. It’s heartbreaking how familiar Tina’s story will be to many survivors of domestic violence.
Devastatingly for Tina, the controlling behavior by her partner only escalated once they were married. “We got married and moved into our own home – that’s when things got worse.” Tina continued: “He started to nitpick at housework – everything I said or did was wrong. He told me what I could wear and how to behave at social gatherings.” She added painfully: “He was stripping away my identity.”
Women who experience domestic abuse often do not leave their partners quickly because they are scared of losing vital aspects of their lives. Tina’s experience was identical to this, as she explained: “I put so much into making this relationship work. It was a multi-faith relationship, so I felt a responsibility to save this relationship.” She continued: “I chose to ignore the controlling behavior and stayed a doting wife because that was the life I chose.”
Tina’s childhood was a good one, and she credits her family for raising her as a “strong, independent woman.”
She seemingly felt she could live with the controlling behavior, but this behavior soon escalated into physical abuse. “The physical violence then began, and I couldn’t understand why.” Tina continued: “He seemed stressed and angry all the time, and I couldn’t work out why.” Many domestic abuse victims often find that emotional and physical abuse go hand-in-hand.
As Tina recounted the next part of her story, she gut-wrenchingly said: “Over three years, I lived my life on eggshells and was scared of when he would lose it with me next.”
“I finally found out the source of his frustration.“
Throughout the seven years of dating and three years of marriage to her partner, she suffered terrible verbal and physical abuse. Often blaming herself and spending countless hours confused about why her partner was so angry, Tina made a shocking discovery.
“I finally found out the source of his frustration. He was leading a double-life, having an affair behind my back.” She added: “I immediately ended it and filed for divorce.”
“The divorce was traumatic – he was all I had ever known. I was physically, mentally and financially drained.” She continued: “I worked so hard to rebuild my life after the divorce was final.”
Tina had gone through so much in those ten years and had lost her identity. “I had to start again and find out what I loved to do and practice some self-love,” she added with determination. “I had to rekindle my dreams. I was tired of being scared and looking over my shoulder.”
We all know the saying that time is a great healer. For Tina, time has enabled her to rebuild her life. She is back to following her dreams and is grateful to be where she is today.
“I’m happier than I have ever been. Going through this experience has made me grow as a person.” With a smile on her face, she added: “I am now in a position where I can pursue my dream of acting and enhance my modelling career. Most important of all, I feel like me again.”
Light at the end of the tunnel
Despite the trauma Tina Sharma had experienced, she is determined to create the life she always wanted.
Tina has appeared in films, TV commercials, and music videos for global artists. Tina has also finished filming for a movie titled ‘Screem‘, due for release this coming year.
Away from her blossoming acting and modeling career, Tina has shown support for a domestic violence charity called Sikh Women’s aid, which she supported in a recent ad campaign.
She experienced traumatic abuse over ten years, but the strength she has shown to come through all this is a testament to what a brave person she is. Tina is not just an inspiration to Sikh women, but to all domestic violence victims worldwide.
Tina Sharma is undoubtedly an inspiration to any person suffering from domestic violence, and she had some poignant advice for anyone suffering. “For anyone going through any form of violence or controlling behavior – it is important to know there is help, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and they can have a better life.”
She continued: “I craved happiness, I tried everything, but I kept going, and now I have the peace I longed for.”
For anyone experiencing domestic abuse and not sure where to go for help:
– In the US:
Office on Women’s Health
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