Papatoetoe deaths: Domestic violence group's stark warning to migrant women

"Reconciliation will kill you."

That's the message to victims of domestic violence from a migrant support group following a tragic incident in south Auckland.

A husband and wife were found dead in their Papatoetoe home on Monday morning, after she reportedly agreed to give their relationship a second chance.

Now the non-profit organisation Shakti has a message for victims of domestic violence: stop putting your marriages above your own personal safety, leave the first time your husband gets violent, and don't go back.

Gathering in grief, members of the Fijian-Indian community are trying to make sense of the senseless.

As well as the husband and wife being found dead, their critically injured four-year-old son was also taken to Starship Hospital, where he remains in intensive care.

Among those paying their respects is community leader Prakash Prasad, who says he recently saw the man and they'd discussed his marital issues.

"As far as I know, I think he was not supposed to be in this home," says Prasad.

"If a person is not happy in his life, move on, move forward; you have no right to take anyone's life. End of story."

Friends of the couple say they had separated some months ago and that police had been involved at the time. But recently, the pair had decided to give their marriage another chance.

Shakti, a support group for migrant victims of domestic violence, says that was the fatal decision - driven by a deadly misconception in Indian culture that leaving your husband will get you killed.

"That is not true, it is just a myth," says Shila Nair, a counsellor and senior advisor with Shakti NZ.

"Because, in reality, the ones who end up dead are the women who reconcile."

The group is now pleading with women to start valuing safety above their marriage.

"Every time a woman sucumbs to domestic violence, it's absolute grief," Nair says. "We can't describe it and we can never get used to it, because it's a life thats been taken away, and the lifes of the children."

For now, the four-year-old boy remains in hospital, just fighting to survive.

Nair says if you need help you can call 0800 SHAKTI for their domestic violence helpline.

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