I think that many young foreigners here in Denmark feel divided. Society says that they should behave in one way and the family says something else. If they become too “Danish”, they are letting down the family, and if they are too “foreign”, they are letting down the society.
I had a wonderful life until I met my husband. He used to beat me, and I lived in constant fear. When the war began in Afghanistan, he fled to Denmark, while I was living illegally around the world with our two children. We ended up getting divorced, and my children were reunited with him. When I came to Denmark, some years later, I felt like I had come to hell. He was beating the children, he hit them as if he were hitting a grown man. He threatened me by saying that he would take the children away from me. He made me believe that I had no rights here, and that they would deport me if they found out that we had problems in the family.
At one point my daughter went to the authorities. I will never forget her eyes when I told them that she was lying about being beaten. Shortly after this episode, I decided that my future was so dark, that life was no longer worth living. He took the children from me, and that made me to go to my caseworker. It was here that I found out that I actually have rights. I got full custody and were now able to protect my children. Every time I see a happy family, it hurts. I am so sorry that I could not give my children a better life. But I have a good life now, I’m getting an education, and my children are doing well. Today my future’s so bright that I’m afraid to die before I get to experience it.
48 year / woman / single / children / studying to become a nutrition assistant / Copenhagen S / from Afghanistan / Azerbaijan background / came to Denmark in 2002 / residence permit in 2004