Police officer blocks Shona on WhatsApp in her time of need
Shona's torture is yet to meet its end. While the mother of two is striving to fight for the full custody of her children, her former husband and his family are more than determined to bring the children back to Saudi Arabia.
Making matters worse, Shona has been left to deal with strangers hovering around her mother's house for past two weeks.
"My neighbours first noticed it and alerted me that there has been a few cars parked a few houses away from us for the past few days. Thankful for the alert, I rushed to the police station to make a report."
"Instead of addressing the matter right away, they dilly-dallied for a few days and after a couple of insistent trips to the station, they finally came to investigate," explained Shona.
The men in those cars claimed to be repossession agents when questioned by the police.
What really surprised Shona was that, instead of confirming their claims, the police officers apparently just left it at that.
"It really frustrated me that these people are willing to just ignore my legit worries and the safety of the people in that residential area when they are the ones that are supposed to ensure our safety."
"The men, they turn up in different cars mostly. It is sometimes a white Toyota Vios or Camry or a green Alza or Proton Saga. They lurk around overnight and my neighbours are terribly concerned," said Shona.
Frustrated, Shona decided to drop a message to the officer in charge of her case and IPO (Interim Protection Order) investigations, but to her disappointment, that didn't help her situation either.
"She refused to answer my messages. I tried explaining to her how tricky my situation is and that I'm genuinely worried about the safety of my kids. The next thing I know, she blocked me on WhatsApp," said Shona.
"Will I ever lead a normal life?" Shona has been pushed to a corner and is battling issues like this on almost a daily basis. Check this space for more updates on this story in the future.
6 APRIL: Shona’s children almost get kidnapped by her father-in-law
As mentioned previously, Shona has been trying to keep her two children safe and away from the abusive hands of her husband. Things have been taught, the 30-year-old said, but she stressed that she would go to any lengths to protect her kids, Emran and Zahra'a.
While she has been cautious about going out, Shona has also been trying her best to make her children's lives as normal as possible which requires them heading out every now and then.
"The nine months they spent in Saudi were really terrible, he tortured them and changed their lives. I just want them to have a happy, decent childhood."
With that in mind she took her two young children for some fresh air and the trio had a blissful day, until they came back home.
"I was walking towards my apartment, and someone charged at me out of nowhere and tried to grab my kids," explained Shona.
"It was 'T''s elderly father. I panicked and started screaming, calling out for help. He managed to push me to the ground and run with my kids. That's when the guards heard me and saved my children from being kidnapped, by their own grandfather."
A traumatised Shona, explained how she went straight to the police station to lodge a report about the incident. Her father-in-law was apparently assisted by another man, that according to Shona, looked like a Malaysian.
"My daughter was so terrified she peed in her pants. Right as he was escaping, I heard him yelling, 'Better be careful!'," said Shona.
The incident left Shona with bruises on her neck and left arm.
To make matters worse, she found out that her father-in-law has been stalking her for the past few weeks. She was made aware that 'T' is back in Saudi Arabia but his father has been in town, keeping track of Shona and her children's whereabouts.
"He ('T') sent a photo of me, taken when I was at Petronas Twin Towers recently and told me that he will never give up on fighting to get the children back till the very end of his life," revealed Shona.
To ensure the safety of her children, she decided to hire a bodyguard for them while waiting for the court proceedings to be over.
When she asked him to stop scaring the children over a text message, he replied with a photo of his middle finger.
28 APRIL: We first met Shona two weeks ago when she first approached us, worried about the safety of her children and her life.
"I need help. I've gone to the police and they are helping me, but I want to create an awareness on how serious and terrible domestic violence can be."
We very much expected a broken woman, but she charged right in, a picture of strength. The first thing she said after we exchanged our pleasantries was, "I'm an open book".
We sat down and she got on talking, revealing a complicated story that some may say is mundane, one-sided or even relate to. By the end of it, we were left with details worth eight long years that defined her 20s.
We broke the story into three parts - the first highlighting the early days of her marriage that led to the abusive years, the second detailing her climb from the darkest depths of her life and now, here's the third and final part of Shona Sinha Roy's story:
After nine long months, 'T' came back to Malaysia on 30 March. Thankfully, he brought along their two young children.
"I think that might have been one of the happiest moments in my life, being able to see my children after all those months, alive and well."
Little did 'T' know that Shona came armed with a temporary custody order from the Syariah court.
"I walked up to him and my lawyers served him with the custody papers. For the first time in almost 10 years, I felt strong and confident."
Shona revealed that she has been working with her lawyers to get the papers ready to get her kids back since the first day she came back to Malaysia.
Explaining that it wasn't an easy task, the 30-year-old mother stressed that her children are her utmost priority and that her elderly mother has been her biggest supporter.
"She is an amazing person. Not once did she judge me harshly for the decisions I made, she just understood and trusted that I acted based on what I thought was best for my family."
"People kept asking me, why didn't I just leave or why did I stay for as long as I did. The reason was both complex and simple. Complex, because leaving someone that you love, believing that they are hurting you is the most difficult thing to do. For whatever that it's worth, I stayed for my children, I wanted them to have a father figure. Every time he apologised, I hoped that it would be the last."
'T' wasn't happy. Realising that he had little power in this part of the world, he decided to play nice and asked Shona out for dinner, wanting to talk things through like a "real couple".
"I was worried and wasn't sure what was in store for me this time around. From my eight years of marriage to him, I knew that he would have something planned to make sure that I bend over backwards to cater to his needs," explained Shona.
Her gut feeling was right. Somberly, he started talking about how much he missed her and how he has changed over the past few months.
'T' wanted them to patch up the marriage and return to Dubai to start over. He even claimed that he has not been seeing anyone since she left Saudi. Exasperated, Shona asked him if she could just take a look at his phone.
He handed it over reluctantly. Unsurprisingly, Shona found that it was still filled with sexually driven messages and photos of random women.
Disappointed and exasperated, Shona told 'T' that she was done with their broken relationship.
"It was like gangrene, a rotting limb that I needed to get rid of or it'll eat me up and ruin everything else I have."
Despite knowing that her husband can be terribly abusive towards her, Shona trusted her husband enough to safely assume that he wouldn't physically hurt their children.
"He used to hit and verbally abuse me in front of them, but he's never hit them."
To her surprise, her children revealed that 'T' did abuse them when she was away. Her son, Emran claimed that his father burnt him with cigarette butts and their paternal grandmother used to pinch his sister until she bled.
Armed with proof of almost a decade of adultery and severe domestic violence, Shona thought that she would be able to keep the kids legally until she could file for full custody. She was wrong.
To put it simply, the Malaysian Syariah court actually cancelled her temporary custody, leaving the children up for grabs.
Shona was baffled by the decision, as she had mentioned and provided medical evidence suggesting that 'T' is abusive towards her and their children during court proceedings.
"I told the judge and my lawyers that his erratic behaviour can be detrimental to our children's growth and life. Children deserve a happy and safe environment to grow up in and I strongly believe that he doesn't have to ability to provide either for my children."
Instead of providing sound reason on why he deserves custody of the children, 'T' claimed that Shona is not a good Muslim during the custody trials.
He pinpointed that she consumes alcohol, smokes, has male acquaintances, and does not wear a hijab.
Shona was perplexed.
"He married me knowing that I drink and smoke and he used to be the one that wanted to celebrate my birthdays and hang out at watering holes. I was a Christian when we married and stayed that way for the first two years of our marriage," said Shona.
In her defence, she explained that she has only been a Muslim for a few years and has been trying her best to learn and comply to the religion's teachings.
Despite all her best efforts, her lawyers informed her that the court has cancelled her temporary custody.
In a desperate attempt to keep her children safe and away from the man who abused them, Shona decided to send them to her mother and keep them at an undisclosed location
She tried her best to avoid him and keep the children hidden and safe with her family.
But 'T' refused to give up. He desperately wanted to get the children back so he started stalking her.
"I would come home and the guards would tell me that a gang of people came looking for me. He hired a few people and started going to all my relatives and friends' homes, looking for me."
"I was terrified but it was important that I protected myself and stayed away from him. Above everything I am a mother and all I wanted was for my children to be safe," added Shona.
After multiple police complaints about living in fear of her husband's brutality, the police officers finally took notice of her case after she wrote a complaint letter to IGP Khalid Abu Bakar
The authorities finally issued a restraining order against 'T', legally protecting Shona from the clutches of her husband.
At the time of writing, 'T' is still in Malaysia with his father and legal team, determined to win the custody case.
Her two children are currently under the loving and watchful care of her mother while Shona is working on the process of applying for full custody.
"I will not give up till I can provide a safe and loving environment for my children," stressed Shona.