Carrie's husband began abusing her sexually and verbally within six months of their wedding six years ago. The one time police were called to her home, they told her the abuse was a domestic issue and needed to be resolved within the home. 'Half a year after I got married, I was beaten and bruised by my mother-in-law because of family disputes. The beating was so violent that some neighbours called the police,' she said. 'But when the police officers arrived, they never asked me what happened. They just said it was our family problem, asked us to resolve it ourselves, and left. 'I never thought of going to the police after that. If they could leave after seeing blood and bruises on my face, would they care to listen to how my husband abused me in the bedroom? It was also too private to tell male police officers in public.' Instead, she put up with being raped by her husband and beaten by his relatives for years, believing it to be normal, before finally leaving last year with her child. Originally from the mainland, Carrie moved to the New Territories to be with her future husband - who was 10 years older than her - about seven years ago. They lived together for a year before getting married. She divorced her husband in July and now lives at the sheltered accommodation along with her four-year-old child. 'I had never realised that it was illegal for a husband to rape his wife,' she said. 'My husband had forbidden me to make friends, and I could only watch TV at home. I was not aware of the law, and there was no way I could get the information.' Last December she contacted a friend who worked at the Hong Kong Association for the Survivors of Women Abuse (Kwan Fook), who told her to seek help from a social worker at the Social Welfare Department. Carrie could not bring herself to tell the social worker about the sexual abuse. 'Just when I began to tell her about my conflicts with my husband, she concluded that they were my problems without asking me the details, and sent me off with a housekeeper to teach me how to do chores at home and be a 'good wife',' she said. 'I felt like I was being discriminated against as a new arrival in Hong Kong, so I didn't tell her about the sexual assaults. I don't think she was trying to help me.' She said the Social Welfare Department has even asked her to return to the mainland. 'They asked me to return to the mainland, instead of offering to help me survive here with my child,' she said. 'That's the reality in Hong Kong. The Social Welfare Department and police are unwilling to help. I'm lucky because I met Kwan Fook, but I wonder how many women are suffering helplessly in silence.'