“Facing hardships in life can be good for you”

We met with Dominika at SolidarityNow’s Thessaloniki Solidarity Center, shortly after her meeting with Vicky, her psychologist. Dominika, 37, comes from Poland and has lived in Greece for the past 14 years. She has two young children that were born here. She is currently unemployed and trying to find a job. She doubts her strength, her abilities and whether she is a good mother. Dominika forgets how brave she is, that she escaped two abusive relationships and now stands on her feet, trying to raise her children alone.

She came to Greece with her first partner. They were both young. They found themselves in a village where they worked in the field of agriculture. It was the time of excitement and carelessness. “I got pregnant. There were many difficulties, but I was happy. We were both young and no one took life seriously”, Dominika tells us. But things changed when her companion started drinking. “That in turn, made me disassociate myself from him; I didn’t want him to touch me and we started fighting”, she states. She started working in a cafe, where she met another man. When her partner found out, he started beating her up. “The situation had worsened. I wanted to leave. My mother didn’t help me, and I didn’t know what to do. I met a Greek man and I left with him, but he battled addiction as well. I wanted to leave, but I chose the wrong way to leave”, she confesses. She married her new partner and they had a child, but the violence continued in that relationship as well.

“I didn’t want to be in this situation, I didn’t want to die”, Dominika points out. She asked her mother’s help, but once again she didn’t support her. She went to a lawyer and soon with her children moved in a shelter for abused women. Through the shelter she found a seasonal job at a hotel. She turned to SolidarityNow and sought legal and social support. “The more I tried, the more I was supported by others. I needed someone to hold my hand, we all want this”, she states.

She talks to us about the financial situation in Greece, about the homeless people and how much all these things make her worry. “Can we hope for the best?” she wonders. She is worried about her unemployment. She wants to find a morning job because she doesn’t want to leave her children alone at night. She dreams of having her own home where no one will be able to kick her out. “I’ve being treated like a garbage in many jobs”, she underlines and adds, “but I know that life goes on and that good comes out of evil”. All these negative experiences have strengthened her. “I have gone through many things in my life because I didn’t have the mind to do things differently. Now I wouldn’t do this to myself”, she says. “My children have understood everything. It hurts me that I didn’t protect them enough. I hope that all these experiences will eventually strengthen them. Sometimes facing hardships in life can be good for you”, she states.

*Thessaloniki Solidarity Center was established and is supported by Open Society Foundations.