Holding On (Survivor Story): Part 1 | Part 2
I do not know where the anger came from, suddenly I went crazy. I went to get knife to kill myself and my unborn child. The police came and my father got scared, he told my in laws to leave. I used my anger to take action. I did not leave my family home but took legal action. My husband was forced to give my divorce and my father was forced to accept my divorce because I wasn’t living in his house and my brothers were grown up so he couldn’t hit my mother on my account.
Friends and family told me as a single parent with children I was too old to remarry and too young to live alone. I didn’t get it; I was only thirty at the time. Anyway I wasn’t interested in men but I was amazed that there were double standards for male and female and the hypocrisy. In some communities men were marrying several girls over petty reasons. As British nationals they have a choice of any young virgins back home to marry and divorce & freedom of girlfriends to mess with. Even so called respectable elderly men with existing families were able to go abroad to marry young girls as young as 16 against their wishes and these girls families would happily agree and pay money for the chance that may be one day their daughter might get a UK visa or at least they will get his pension even if she suffers abuse at the hands of evil men.
During my time as a single parent I was once asked by one British Bengali brother as to why I did not ask my children before I ended my marriage and will I ask them If I remarry. I found him very ignorant and narrow minded. All my life I have been forced by my father, brothers and then a husband to make decisions against my will. I told him I was capable of making my own decisions as a 30 year old and knowing what is best for me and my children, I also asked do I not have my own identity and human rights, the same rights my creator gave me to live.
I hated all men for years and thought all men were the same till I was introduced to a divorcee, a Muslim man who shared the same experiences as someone who was forced into an arranged marriage. His ex wife left him for a boyfriend she was seeing and in process abandoning him and their child. That was the first time I had met a man who was hurt by another women. For the first time I was attracted to a man for his qualities. He was intelligent, broadminded, goodlooking but I was scared of commitment so I took my time getting to know him by phone.
My ex, after a number of years of absence, started to harass and stalk me through children’s contact meetings. He would intimidiate my children to get information out from them about our life. I had no support from my family or friends and I felt that the divorced Muslim brother that I had met would be my support and be a good guardian for my children so I accepted his proposal. After my marriage, my father left me alone with my new circumstances. My husband was a body builder and looked very strong and manly and when my ex saw him he ran like a dog with his tail between his legs. It is easy to hit a woman but to fight another man is not that easy. Five years later with daughters and sons I have found peace at home. My husband is a gentle man, a loving husband a doting dad and Alhamdulilaah a good role model for my children from my previous marriage.
I get very sad when I see friend and families in similar situations; they are so scared of their spouses that they deny they have a problem and isolate themselves from others. I know of one brother who married a girl from Bangladesh thinking a Bangladeshi bride will be a better wife then a British girl but his new wife had issues such as anger problems and self harm tendencies whenever she was not able to send the children’s allowances to her family members abroad, she would constantly go into rages. He was not able to leave her because he was scared to lose his children and lose face in the community.
A recent incident happened today. After a very long time, I had gone for a visit to my parents with my children. My mother asked me to sit and eat. My father came from work soon after. During a family conversation my mother made a general comment and my father threw into a violent rage. In front of us and his grandchildren he went towards my mum, who is now in her fifties, with a baby’s chair to hit her with whilst screaming the words do u want a divorce! I was completely taken aback because it had been quite numbers years back since he had his violent episodes. Over the recent years it was mostly verbal abuse. I went in the middle of them as a barrier but for the first time my mother reacted back. She egged him on to hit and to divorce her. She said this was final. As a mother, grandmother, and a mother in law she is will not stand for it. My father was taken back and like a bully he shrunk and left the room.
I was sad because my father had taken me back to the same place as a child to witness his violence but at the same time I was happy because I knew my mother has learnt to fight her own battles. I want to share with you this Surah from the Quran, Surah 13 Ayah 9 – 11:
“He knows what is hidden and what is open; the Almighty, the Exalted. It is the same whether any of you thinks quietly or speaks aloud and whether he is hidden by the night or is out in the day. With each person there are forces behind him and ahead of him coming in succession: they preserve him at the behest of God. Verily, God does not change people’s condition unless they change their inner selves. And when God causes people to suffer misfortune, there is no averting it, and they will not find any protector besides Him.”
Insha’Allah I hope all my brothers and sisters do not become a victim and change the circumstances they find themselves in and find peace because life is too short.