I was thrashed but not beaten: Never be afraid of divorce

Published: March 19, 2013

That day he beat me till I was literally black and blue- like this was the last chance he would ever have.

I got married at a very young age. I was 17- years-old and had not even finished high school yet. I was married to a man who was 31 years old at the time, an MBA graduate from a university in the US. He belonged to an elite and very well to do family from Karachi and was also the only son.

Marriage to me was all about jewellery, fun, laugh and play, but it didn’t take long for me to realise that although it was a new relationship it was definitely a very strange one.

In the third month of my marriage, I became the victim of physical abuse by my husband.

The incident took place over a very petty issue – he didn’t appreciate the fact that I took too long to decide whether I wanted to go with him to meet friends or if we should stay home and watch a movie instead.

That was not the last time he was going to hit me; the physical abuse went on and didn’t stop.

It was a ritual that carried on till the marriage lasted, which was about 15 years. Trivial things like, food not tasting good was my fault; our kids not sleeping on time was because I didn’t train them well enough.

To him I was the ugliest person alive – I could never do anything right in life.

I heard only abuses and nasty rhetoric from him each day of those 15 years I spent with him.

An incident I can never come to forget – a turning point in my life, one that still gives me goose bumps and makes me relive the excruciating pain all over again – was on the day when nothing seemed right in life. My children looked at me; confusion and utter helplessness gripped my entire body; I, myself, was not sure if they should console their mother or keep their father busy enough to divert his attention away from their mother for a while. That was the day I mustered up all my courage and calmly told him that I wanted a separation.

That flabbergasted, crazed look in his piercing eyes was enough to tell me I had crossed bounds yet again.  I was told to be quiet and if I disobeyed I would be shot (the standard threat).  That day he beat me till I was literally black and blue – like this was the last chance he would ever have. He hit me without any fear at all; at every angle that his hands and feet would take him.

The sight, that even today, 15 years later, brings tears to my eyes was the look of helplessness, horror and fear on the innocent faces of my four little angels; my children. They tried desperately to pull their mother’s attacker away, but that horrendous creature was too strong and determined for them. I could feel their hands approaching me, trying with their tiny palms to protect me.

That night I was locked in the washroom from where I tried to escape and finally succeeded.

One of his family members took pictures of the bruises that not only stayed on my body for the longest time but left deeper marks on my heart, soul and my personality. Those marks cut deep into us, they scarred us for life and they changed the naive innocent girl that my parents gave birth to.

All I wanted in life was to be with a man who would respect me and my feelings; with whom I could share my world, raise our children and make them good human beings.

But then, dreams don’t always come true and I started becoming a person I never even imagined I would become.

It didn’t take me long to realise that I was more like a unpaid maid to him who would fulfill wifely duties, produce offspring (the only way of showing his ‘mardangy’ (manhood) cook for him, clean his house and entertain when required.

It was after four children and 15 excruciating years that I realised that no angel was going to come to rescue me and my kids – I was the only one who could help us and I had to take a stand. So, without any financial support or any backing from family, I took charge of my own life. Despite my father’s reluctance, I registered myself for a khula and it was the wisest decision that I have ever made in my life; my life and the lives of my children have been at peace ever since I left him.

I received many different reactions to my divorce; my friends started keeping their distance from me in fear of me somehow taking their husbands away from them. On the other side, their husbands eagerly offered their help, a very “come we will help you” attitude, unfortunately, their eyes spoke more than their words did and not one looked less than a hungry animal to me.

Strangely, my family and my in- laws had nothing to do with my relationship with my husband. There was never a sense of responsibility or even empathy from either of them. The fact that I decided to go ahead with the divorce and manage my own life was something they made sure I stood up to. I think the fact that I was a divorcee didn’t worry them as much as the fear of having additional mouths to feed and support in case I was unable to earn a living. So they made sure I learnt how to fend for myself – they conveniently separated themselves from our lives.

At this point, I realised that I had started a new chapter in my life. I may not have had the qualifications to acquire a job that would pay me well enough to support myself and my children, but what I did have was the drive, strength and determination to give my children the best life and education I could possibly provide.

Life was evolutionary for me, it taught me many things. Yes, I had nothing when I left my husband but this experience showed me is that there are so many good people out there who coexist with the bad.

Don’t ever be afraid to stand up for yourself and leave, no matter how hard it seems. If you are being beaten, he doesn’t deserve you. Take the stand and walk out.

I came across some very kind-hearted, generous people and the impact that they have made upon our lives – I will never forget. Angels who took the form of teachers who readily agreed to enroll my kids in their school with nominal charges; acquaintances who helped me find jobs and friends, neighbours and strangers who shared their home furniture and utensils with me so I could make a home for myself and my four beautiful kids.

Although my life has pretty much been on a roller-coaster ride since my divorce, the best part about it is that I don’t face any humiliation anymore; there is no one to physically or emotionally abuse me anymore. Despite the hardship, my life is full of love, happiness and hope for a better future for my kids.

I don’t live in fear anymore.

The challenges I face every day at work as a full time HR professional are faced with open arms. Hard work gives me peace and serenity, and the anathema of being a divorcee is no longer attached to me.

Today my children have all graduated from reputable universities and I run my household happily and independently with my own hard-earned money. I take a lot of my courage and determination from my kids, their immense love and respect for me has made me what I am today.

It’s been 12 years since I got my freedom and today perceptions have changed completely. Women in our society want to be financially secure before they tie the knot and they are not scared of voicing their reluctance in case they think they will not be respected or given their due rights.

This makes me happy; every woman who can stand up and think for herself is one woman less abused.

Today, I don’t sit and lick my wounds – I celebrate them because they have made me a stronger woman.

Never be afraid to take control of your own life for God has made our gender very strong.

If I can do it with four children, no job and no family support, you can do it too.

Don’t take another beating.

Do you think women in Pakistan are afraid of getting a divorce?

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amenah.khan

Amenah Khan

An H.R. professional who enjoys the little things in life and believes that a man is not stronger than a woman.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • https://twitter.com/Pugnate Bruce Wayne

    You are a very brave and strong woman. Recommend

  • Hussain

    Brilliant write up..!! & a source of inspiration for many…!! Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    This was a fantastically well written blog and it is really moving. I hope it is shared by any woman looking to get married in this male dominant country.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Gibbyk1 Gibbyk1

    Breathtakingly brave and important piece this.Recommend

  • Amna

    It takes a lot of courage to take such steps but Ms. Amenah, its women like you who become a ray of hope and strength for thousands of women across the country.

    I pray our parents teach us to respect ourselves and not get us married for the sake of getting married. It should be based on trust, respect and love and less dependent on what the society asks from us.Recommend

  • FJ

    Hats Off to you Amenah for being strong for achieving so much after your misery. Pakistan needs mother like you to make their daughters strong. (Mentally, physically and emotionally)Recommend

  • http://wannabehappyalways.wordpress.com Madhia

    Awesome and inspiring piece of writing… Got tears in my eyes, lots of prayers for you and your family.. God bless u always.. Stay strongRecommend

  • Raiya Hashmi

    Wow! One great article…even though I think you should not have waited fifteen years. You should have left him the day he beat you for the first time. I think the worst thing in our society is when women wait years and years to wait for their men to turn into good people. This is a fallacy. No amount of sacrificing can make a chavinistic man happy.Recommend

  • Zahra Haroon

    A well written piece. You are truly an inspiration for many. May Allah Pak bless us and guide us through everything AMEEN SUM AMEEN. Stay happy and blessed always :) Recommend

  • Human

    WOW . I am in tears .
    God Bless you & your Children
    I salute you Recommend

  • TUS

    It makes me wonder whether the husband’s qualification/education/upbringing is any guarantee against him turning out to be an assaulter. Marriage really is a gamble!Recommend

  • Sane

    @Writer

    Being a male of this society, I salute your courage and determination. This is a lesson to all women of our society to co-exist with husband and his family with dignity and self respect. Otherwise, lead your own life. But, please get educated more, more and more to have your independent standing, if needed.

    Why not make an effective forum by civil society (selfless NGO) where criminal, who abuse emotionally or physically be punished adequately to their wives must be brought to justice legally. This should be done on one point agenda basis.Recommend

  • http://www.wordsmith.com.pk Ayesha Sajid

    I am very sorry about what you had to go through. But I am so thoroughly proud of what you have achieved as a mother, as a professional and as a woman! I salute women like yourself who can muster up the courage to say no to abuse and can walk away to build a life for themselves. Thank you for sharing your story and May God bless you!Recommend

  • Anonymous

    A very inspiring and moving life story!!Recommend

  • ZK

    Awesome. Thought provoking. Everyone should raise voices against such tormenting way of life regardless of being afraid of divorce !!Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nicely written and goes to show the strength that comes forth when you are pushed against the wall.
    Could someone educate me on the legal position, if the woman brings charges against the man…………will the law be on her side ? and also the practicality of taking such action ?Recommend

  • Rana Shaheryar

    You are brave woman and inshAllah Allah keep you safe and sound and shower His all blessings on you and your children. Stay blessed.Recommend

  • Monet

    By writing this, you don’t even know how many lives you may have saved and how much courage you might have given someone. Today, you are someone’s angel. Your bravery and courage has moved me beyond measure. Thank you!Recommend

  • Historian 1

    I cannot comment much as it is a one sided story. Generally such a behavior comes from men who are alcoholic or drug addict or have serious financial problems. Recommend

  • Raza

    What a brilliant piece. In a society where women from a very young age are taught to worship their men and take all the abuse for the good of their children, I am so proud that we still have women like you who defy this sick mentality and take a stand for themselves, and in doing so change theirs and their children’s lives for the better. I only wish there were more women like you in Pakistan.Recommend

  • advocate

    @ Parvez Yes a wife can press charges against the husband for physical abuse under CrPc Act, but as everyone knows there are laws in our country for everything,yet there is no effective implementation of these laws, because there are a lot of delays in our police and judicial system. If these systems are reformed then it would be very easy and practical for the common man to register his/ her complaints and have action taken on them.Recommend

  • Ahsan Siddiqui

    I really appreciate your consideration about dark side of our society . it’s horrible………….

    I thought ka yeh sb lack of education ki waja sa bhi hota hoga ! but yahan tou parhe lekhe log bhi is had tak girr gaye hain , shayad inha khuda ka khoof nahi , Jin ka naseeb ma hidayat ha ALLAH un sab ko hidayat dy ………….

    Holy prophet (S.A.W) said, “Among you the most respectable is the one who respects women and the most dis-respectable is the one who disrespect the women.”Recommend

  • Insaan

    Men don’t have a right to beat their wives. There should be laws against “beating” by husbands or in laws. Girls should be well educated, in case they need to start a new life and need to work. Beating of mothers can have adverse effect on self esteem of kids as well.Recommend

  • uzma

    @ Amenah
    My best wishes for you & your kids!!
    I wish I were as brave as you !!!
    I fought the battle alone for too long & then gave up !
    I had no children which killed any desire to face the world as I was & later decided to put an end to my misery by getting married again !!!!
    This time I met real gem of a person but sometimes I think I might have been braver to challenge the system by deciding not to get married again… as still I have to succumb to the demands of the same society which made me suffer for too long!!!
    Every thing happens for a reason & I feel relaxed when I compare my life with thousands of others around whose sufferings are greater than mine & thank Allah !!!Recommend

  • Na-maloom

    Now this was inspirational. Recommend

  • FAK

    You are one brave woman and a story to be told to so many who suffer similarly!|
    rock on lady! its people like you who give a reason to cry,wipe tears, believe and smile!
    i hope in all of this your children give you the place you truly deserve!
    RESPECT!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jahanzaib-Haque/149352001744540?ref=ts Jahanzaib Haque

    Thank you for sharing your moving story.

    Recommend

  • mdz

    Amazing story of courage , Kudos !
    We need more Female Hero like you to make this world livable for women otherwise our male breed ( including me) has put in all kind of one sided restrictions and rituals to make women subservient to our(male) whims , hysterias and insanity.
    Wish your tribe grow who can stand against these brutality !Recommend

  • Bilal

    You are a brave women .May God give you more success in your life .Recommend

  • H

    First of all, I want to thank you for sharing your story. This happens more often than we think. We need more stories like this to create awareness of this problem. What I do not understand is that why couples decide to have kids when they face such challenges in their marriage? I understand the author succumbed to demands to please her husband/family but why not stand up sooner. I do not understand that. Although I have not faced such traumatic events in my life, therefore I may not be the best judge. I wish you all the best in your life. Hold your head up high!Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    Very painful and heart breaking story. Aunty, You are definitely a very brave woman. I cannot understand what can make a man hit a woman? A true man is one who protects a woman, rather than attacking her. Its shameful to hit a woman. There are some good and responsible men also. I take a lesson from this article, that I will treat my wife like a princess- if I ever get married…Recommend

  • Meem

    Such an inspirational story! More power to you. Came across a good blogpost on ET after a long time. Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    Amenah, while I admire your bravery and struggle and sympathize too, I have a few basic questions. The beating started within 3 months of marriage and kept increasing. A wise woman would have immediately taken protection and not complicated ones own life with four children. Children could have been produced with a more compatible partner, at a more settled stage in life. How come such a simple and obvious thought not cross your mind ?
    I have a wonderful wife but it took me four years to be absolutely sure this was the woman I loved, cared for, endured and had kids with –, subsequently family size increased. Sorry, I cannot understand why people want to complicate their lives. Good Luck, anyway ! Recommend

  • Zahid Ishaq Khan

    Well represented BUT only your side of the story…..God knows whats Your ex-husbands side of it. There are unjust people out there in both genders. but my observation is that women these days are more home-wreckers than men. Tali ek haath se kabhi nahin bajee. Recommend

  • Ramsha. K

    Congratulations to you for having the courage. Your story is truly an inspiration. An inspiration for those women who bear all the tortures men have to offer, to the men who think women are nothing but slaves and to the families who believe that there only responsibility is to marry off their daughter no matter what she faces after that, its her own life.
    The only reason that women are so brutally treated in our part of the world is because they never take divorce as an option. I speak for very few women here, since the others who have this option are using it for no reasons or unfair reasons. The women who are treated so badly and are subject to abuse never have the courage to step on it. Your story is thus a motivation for all those who have sealed their lips and accepted it as fate.Recommend

  • rabya

    I dont know you, but have SO much respect for you for taking such a huge stand, for yourself and your children, specially considering how unsupportive Parents and even siblings tend to get in such situations. So so so proud of who you are today, and what you have made your children :) I know some one very close going through the same situation, for twenty years now and the woman refuses to take a stand. It is so disappointing! Recommend

  • Sanam

    Your blog made me cry. Too much stigma is attached with divorce and women suffer. All women should be financially independent and should not think twice before leaving a husband who abuses her in any way. Good for you!!! May Allah Bless you!Recommend

  • gp65

    @Parvez: “Could someone educate me on the legal position, if the woman brings charges against the man…………will the law be on her side ? and also the practicality of taking such action ”

    Clearly I am not a legal expert on Pakistani law. From what I understand, there was an attempt to bring in a law against domestic violence. It was passed in the Pakistani Senate in Feb2012 and then did not pass the House. Thus it failed to become a law. I imagine it is precisely situations like this that the proposed law attempted to cover. In light of that, it is unlikely that the woman could bring charges against the man in Pakistan. http://tribune.com.pk/story/364897/law-against-domestic-violence-still-a-far-cry/Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    where were your parents ? where were his parents ? families ? why did you delay so much … was he a psycho or do we need to ponder more upon the comments made by Zahid Ishaq Khan ? you did not mention the root cause of all this … but I am happy that you are free now and out of danger … Live your life to the fullest now … best regardsRecommend

  • Talat Haque

    Mr. Zahid Ishaq Khan ………….. yeh koi talee nahee hai ………….. people torture and abuse because they are messed up in their selves ……….. not a valid excuse though ……… plenty of people have messed up lives they dont all become abusers and cruel – but some do – like Amenah’s husband – ………. physical and emotional abuse of women is very common …………. women are financially and socially vulnerable that is the reason why they take so long in deciding in favour of divorce ………….. they go to the end of their endurance [old school ones] ……….. the “home-wreckers” you mention, probably do not wait for that long [ :)]………… there is no clapping during the abuse and torture , no talee during the process of separation and no applause when one faces life on your own …………. the true applause is the salvation of a woman’s self-esteem which only Amenah’s heart must feel and her children’s peaceful, strife – free life, their smiles she can see ! That’s when we must all clap for her !Recommend

  • ali humayun

    it is indeed one of the best articles i have ever read..,
    seriously beautiful..,
    you are such an inspiration and at least idol for me to follow to tackle extreme challenges in life.Recommend

  • Suvi

    Very courageous of you and also thanks for your courage in writing your story …. Cannot imagine how much strength you would have needed to bring forth those memories and share them with others.

    For those who wonder, why the author tolerate abuse for 15 years…. There are numerous factors that make women continue to stay in that situation…
    – parents often marry off their daughters without first encouraging or ensuring their education and financial independence. So after marriage girls end up having to completely depend on their husband for all their needs which mitigates the sense of self, and the confidence to take major decisions.
    – Society does not support a girl initiating divorce either emotionally or with a non judgmental attitude. Often the girl’s own family does not support her and the social taboo against divorce makes the girl very hesitant of taking that step.
    – Finally there is a strong psychological aspect. When a woman becomes subject to physical abuse, it does not just scar her physically but scars her self esteem. There is a progressive destruction of self esteem that occurs. Many times the victim starts feeling guilty even when she is the victim and that brings in a deep sense of shame and hence she is unable to share her suffering with anyone, nor find the strength to escape from the situation.

    @ Historian1: domestic violent is very common in our societies…. Most people who commit this act are neither alcoholics nor drug users. And domestic violence is not limited to specific strata of the society.Recommend

  • Faisal

    This is a powerful piece. I am so sorry that you went through this experience, but as you said this journey made you a stronger person. I am glad that you took the brave step to get out of it. From what I know, too many women in Pakistan and here in the US too go through abuse of all sorts and can not or are not able to get out of abusive marriage. Mainly due to the lack of financial independence and in many situations women don’t have enough support from families or friends to get out of it and in most cases its hard for women to get out of marriage with young kids. Moreover, the religion plays a part in this too. I am not saying that religion encourages it, not at all, but there is this sense of understanding among many that divorce is the most unliked thing in the eyes of God. Not true, because if it was not then it would have not be allowed as it is mentioned in the Quran. It is allowed for the reason that if two are not getting along then it is better to part away. Marriage should bring happiness and growth not turmoil and misery. It is important to work it out and give some time as long as there is no harmful abuse. There needs to be a discourse and an open discussion on abusive marriages at all levels. Verbal arguments once in a while are ok between man and a woman, but a repeated pattern is precarious and there is no excuse for physical abuse. A man is not worthy of being called a man who abuses his wife physically or verbally. Recommend

  • Haider

    May Allah give you success madam. Indeed u r a strong and role model. I wish every women can stand against the cruelties of men. As long as women feel themselves an entity that a man can buy; nothing is going to change. Secondly economical independence is necessary to empower women.Recommend

  • Parvez

    @advocate and GP65 : Thanks for your responses. I think it must be because the CrPc Act was just a paper law, that in 2012 they tried to pass the Domestic Violence law and as happens many a time good legislation becoms victim to politics and sadly also to male chauvinism garbed as ‘ traditional tribal culture ‘………. its an uphill task. Recommend

  • 3rdRockFromTheSun

    This is obviously hindsight, but you should have left at the third month of your marriage – after the first incident! Nothing, and I mean nothing – can justify physical violence against a spouse (both female and yes there are men who are physically abused as well!)
    Hope the soon-to-be brides and grooms read this and learn. But good on you for leaving the relationship and standing up on your own.Recommend

  • Suvi

    @Zahid Ishaq Khan:
    Whether someone is “home-wrecker” or not, it still does not give a person the right to resort to violence against that someone, especially violence that is one-sided which it is in most domestic violence cases.

    An individual who tries to win an argument or unleashes his frustrations by intimidating or hitting the other person is somebody who is psychologically weak, does not have the maturity to exert self control and is mentally not balanced. And when a man is hitting a woman, he is hurting someone who is physically weaker than him and often unable to retaliate or protect herself… That makes it even more shameful.

    And when a person hits their spouse in knowledge of kids, they cause irreparable damage to the kids too who inevitably would grow up feeling resentment against the oppressive parent and would most likely fear him instead of feeling respect or affection.Recommend

  • Humanity

    @Feroz wrote “”I have a wonderful wife but it took me four years to be absolutely sure this was the woman I loved, cared for, endured and had kids with –, subsequently family size increased. Sorry, I cannot understand why people want to complicate their lives. ”

    Respectfully, allow me to ask, what would you have done if after four years you had found out she was not the woman you could love?Recommend

  • http://google.com ayesha jabeen

    This article is written very impressively. This is true that women in our society are deprevied from there rights and there is no more freedom of speech in our society but alone we can change this world. Although our religion has given us certain rights and has prescribed laws and order which are obvious but we are not availing it. You are totally inspirational for us and you have set such a beautiful example for women. Keep up the good and last but not the least I have learnt one thing from this piece that life isn’t a problem to be live it is a mystery into be resolved.Recommend

  • A. Khan

    I would question why you took 15 years to leave your husband when the abuse started in month 3 of your marriage. That is 14 years and 9 months too long. I can understand you trying to make your marriage work but unfortunately, your description of your husband is that of a psychopath. He probably witnessed his mother being abused at the hands of his father and felt what he did was right. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, these matters cannot even be reported to police. In the West, such abuse is a straight ride to the police cell and even divorce, should the victim wish.Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com The Only Normal Person Here.

    Your story moved me. We need more women like you. Stay blessed me.Recommend

  • amgine

    @Feroz:
    This might help you understand how abused people lose their strength of will and end up staying too long.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lesliemorgansteinerwhydomesticviolencevictimsdont_leave.htmlRecommend

  • bla

    I feel really bad that you had to go through so much pain …it should be mandatory for parents to make sure that they emphasize on their daughthers education more than their boys, so that they are financially stable and are working before getting married..very, very important.Recommend

  • The Rebel

    Amenah, first of all, kudos to you for showing the courage and determination to divorce this animal of a man against all the adversity. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for you. May Allah make your and your children’s lives all that you ever dreamed of.

    But my point is, why do people decide to have children so early in their marriage, or with someone whom they really don’t know at that stage. Marriage doesn’t mean children are a must. At some stage, sure. But according to me, at least you should know the person you’re going to be sharing your life with. One of the reasons I’m against arranged marriage is precisely this. People don’t even know the person they’re about to tie the knot with. And then you end up having children so early into your marriage for one reason or the other, so when problems like abusing arise, it gets that much harder to leave the person.

    This society should really change, and for the better. I for one don’t give a hoot what this society thinks or wants from me.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Ameenha Khan,
    All is well if the end is well! This reminds me of a woman in the UK of 79 years seeking a divorce from her 81 years old husband. The Judge was surprised and asked the woman, why a divorce at such an age; the answer was prompt; I have been telling my husband for over fourty years that I will leave him if he does not stop his snoring in night sleeps,

    He has not changed his habit and I want to prove that I meant what I had said.

    The couples were officialy divorced.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Zoro

    What can i say what has not already been commented above. You are a true inspiration to the millions of abused women in our society who are too scared to take a stand. May Allah keep you happy and healthy.

    cheersRecommend

  • Working Woman

    only thing , i like about your x-husband: He didnt became any hindrance regrading children custody.Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/sxahir Zahir

    **I don’t quite often comment on blogs, but this one demanded to be appreciated. A very inspiring.. This is the finest “Never Give UP” practical experience I have ever read. I hope and wish that every women in this country reads this and take a lesson from it. The fact that you didn’t have much education, or family support tells that a person (man or a woman) has enough strength to counter any difficult situation.

    Hats Off .. Keep it Up !**Recommend

  • Ms. Ras

    You are surely a blessed woman in so many other ways. Allah has blessed you by giving you four children who have turned out to be good human being brougt up by such a courageous lady. There could be no greater achievement than seeing your kids grow up successfully.

    You did the right thing by leaving that man. May Allah contiune to protect you and your children from all troubles and adversities of this world and hereafter. Recommend

  • Anthony

    Funny how it’s only MEN who are calling her a home-wrecker. Typical Pakistani male.Recommend

  • Iqra Khan

    I am very touched after reading this Article, i am happy that you have made your decision at early stage and make it work for your children.
    i also belong from a broken family and i can understand how hard it is for a women who take this decision for betterment of her kids.
    i have seen my mother suffering allot with family taunts and pinching attitude and Financial crises but in the end “God Help those who help themselves”
    And Allhamdullilah my mom succeed and so did you.
    i am proud of all those women who raise voice for her own life and get rid of such cruel so called MEN!!!Recommend

  • Ali

    sad, moving and inspirational.. Recommend

  • Zeenia

    You are a very brave and strong woman. This article moved me. I am literally in tears.Recommend

  • Umair

    I salute your decision and I salute your bravery.

    May Allah bless you and your children. Recommend

  • Bissmah Mehmud

    What a brave woman you are not only to have stood up for yourself but also, to share your life’s story. I wish there were more women like you, who don’t decide to stay and get beaten everyday and in turn become seriously mentally scarred which can in some cases mess up their children’s lives too. Thank God you walked out so you could foster a safe and violence free environment for your children and more importantly yourself.
    There is a huge misconception in Pakistan that women should “put up with such abuse” for the sake of the children, since kids NEED a father in their lives. True, they need a father but what they don’t need is a monster. If the kids grow up seeing their father as an assaulter and their mother unhappy, they will be MORE messed up than those children who grow up without fathers. For a woman too, it is so essential to be happy herself if she is to keep her children happy. A happy person may or may not impart further happiness. An unhappy person will ONLY impart further unhappiness and misery.
    Lastly i wish somehow we could get this message out to our masses as well; that it is so important that daughters be educated and at least have crossed 18 before they are married off. Naiveté will help no woman. Educated/working wives would have more confidence and in such situations would have a better chance of walking out early and not putting up with it for so many years. Recommend

  • MK

    Dear Writer – Divorce is never easy, never a given, but please do know – it is ALWAYS, and will remain so, ALWAYS an option. Never ever forget that.This especially, for all those bigots who feel divorce is just not an option- that’s like caging a bird, and giving it slow death, just because it suits YOU.

    Its unfortunate that it took you 15 years to do the rightful and take the much needed step. I empathise that it must not have been easy, but am ever so thankful to you for writing this article – for spelling out your courage, how you suffered in adversity; and how you mentioned the family background of your abusive husband – there are so many of us who live in bubbles and think that this does not happen in the so called ‘educated’ class.

    I wish you and your children best of luck, and lots of happiness going forward.

    A supporter. Recommend

  • Milind

    Toast to this brave lady!!!
    @Author – My best wishes to you & your kids!!!Recommend

  • http://www.twitter.com/sxahir Zahir

    The brighter side of this painful story is that this should lead your son(s) to be one of the best husband and your daughter(s) to be a strong but humble wife. Recommend

  • Hussain

    @Zahid Ishaq Khan:

    khan sb with due apology.. what ever the situation may be it does not justify a husband beating his wife..!!! even if the wife is intolerable its better to get a separation rather than beating her every day… & make life miserable for the entire family.

    It is high time we stop taking women as our properties, abuse them, beat them, burn them with acid & God knows what.

    Recommend

  • Virkaul

    @Historian 1: We may have heard one side of the story but nothing justifies violence in married life. Man, who is physically stronger, does not have any right to resort to violence. Such person suffer from inferiority complex and may be impotent, physically and/or mentally.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Historian 1: “I cannot comment much as it is a one sided story. Generally such a behavior comes from men who are alcoholic or drug addict or have serious financial problems.”

    For many years I have volunteered in an organization that supports South Asian women who are victims of domestic violence in USA. I can say definitively that you are quite wrong. This problem happens across all religions, nationalities, education and wealth levels. Sometime alcohol and drugs maybe involved but most often that is not the case.

    I am also shocked that you think there could be ‘another side’ to the story that would justify the violence that this lady describes and the kind that I have personally witnessed. You must recognize that when a newly wed bride comes to US on an H4 visa, she does not have authorization to work (hence cannot be financially independent) and in early years of marriage very likely the family just has one car (hence no mobility). The balance of power is highly skewed and the notion of ek haath se taali nahin bajti simply does not apply. Back home the issue that skews the balance of power is the stigma that is attached to a divorcee woman and frequently the stigma is not just restricted to her but transfers to her family as well – that in addition to the fact tat often she is not financially independent.

    When I see the situation these women are in, I cannot but help think ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ because his can happen to any woman.Recommend

  • Gary

    I’m glad you found closure…good luck…Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    A very good article.

    I am a man but I hate guys who raise their hands on women. Here we can see that a grauduate from an International University was coward enough to beat a woman.

    You should be Proud of yourself that you stood on your feet and was able to raise your children.
    Parents should teach their son now a days that woman have to be treated with honour and a real man will never raises his hand.

    It is true that woman in our society are deprieved of their rights but honestly I have seen here in Germany as well many such examples (from Germans not foreigners) although not as often as you find in thrid world countries. The goverment in Europe supports the woman but still there are many ocassions that woman are afraid to go out and complain.

    In any case wish you luck in your future life.Be inspirational.Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @Sane:

    Since I am 19 years old. I am thinking to make such a NGO. To back up all such cases and bring the people to Justice.Till now, no success. Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    @Historian 1:

    Not really …some guys dont have self respect.Recommend

  • Ermin

    My mama.Recommend

  • Liz

    All the while i was reading this I thought I have written it in my subconsiousness!!!
    I have gone through the absolute same, differnce was mine was love marriage and only one kid.
    I was tortured for the smallest things you can think of, sometimes I myself didn’t know what went wrong where.
    I have also taken Khula and I was in the same situation, no job, no money, but I had to take a stand for the future of my child. I couldn’t let my child grow with an abusive man and thus become like him.

    And yes, society still has a negative approach towards women like us, but I still think we should do what we think is better for our lives and our kids.

    @ Zahid Ishaq Khan, I guess men like you are the ones who turn abusive after marriage.
    And there is no taali bajana in this matter. No woman, no matter how she is, never wrecks her home just for the fun of it. Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/dureen_anwer Dee

    Beautifully written article! Brought tears to my eyes.
    Yes physical abuse should never be tolerated, but mental and emotional abuse needs to be dealt with strictly as well. Majority of the women I know have gone through mental and emotional abuse, either from their husbands or from their in-laws. Unfortuantely society tells them to be more tolerant, understanding and open minded. As apparently it is only a doting wife/ daugther-in-law who can bring up well-behaved off springs. Recommend

  • Nowsherwan

    You are a courageous woman Amenah. Thumbs up for your years to comeRecommend

  • Clarus

    As long as parents will blindly give away their daughters for the sake of landing them up into rich families we will get to hear such ordeals. Girls Parents should understand the difference between “RIGHT GUY” and “BEST GUY”.Recommend

  • Malika Merchant

    This is indeed very thought provoking and an eye opener….. every woman who can stand up and think for herself is one woman less abused…seriously why do u need men (esp like these) in your life when you youself is so complete within your self…

    God bless you and your children!Recommend

  • salman

    Not surprised from a extremist society , much more worst to come … one can only wonder whats happens in rural areas Recommend

  • Humanity

    @author

    By pouring your heart out, you have moved forward to accept yourself as is. You have validated your trust in God and in yourself. The wounds are surely healing by the Grace of God, and through self respect to assert your individuality and to reclaim your humanity.

    Sharing your experience is therapeutic for you and your children. You are an exemplar for hundreds of women who continue to suffer in bad marriages and yet do not find the courage to make a change.

    There are many lessons to be learned from your experience by both women and men of all walks of life. For women, please respect yourselves and take care of yourselves. Only then you can take on the responsibility of raising a healthy family. For men, please learn that a wife is your partner in life. She is not cattle, she is not a maid, and she is certainly not your mother. Treat her as your better half if you wish to become whole.

    Thank you and keep walking, dear Amenah!Recommend

  • Zaara

    @Zahid Ishaq Khan:
    What can possibly be a valid reason for anyone to get beaten up like this? What could she possibly have done to deserve this treatment? Care to give us some examples of the “other side of the story”? Recommend

  • Umaimah

    “ALLAH HELP THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES” :)
    stay blessed and hats off to you :)Recommend

  • Blogmenow

    Brought a tear to my eye.

    God Bless. Recommend

  • Someone

    well, the blog brought back a lot of memories. Difference is that in my picture I was the kid and my mother was the victim, and we three sibs used to try (without much success) prying my father off mother during his frequent rage fits. I’m 21 now, much has changed yet somethings just froze in time. He does not hit mother anymore because we no longer are kids with tiny palms. But the damage is done, my mother is psychologically damaged and suffers from phobia bouts and my brother from depression. My father did not limit his hatred and beating for mother alone, we sibs were a target too. was my mother not brave enough? No. She had no means of financial independence and like you studied till high school. But she did not believe in financial challenges nor social stereotypes regarding divorce for her sole concern was our safety not hers-although both were in jeopardy. Her family was willing to take her responsibility but not ours, they feared child custody wars and consequences that could result. She refused that ofcourse and thought she could handle it on her own alone but what kept her from divorce was our custody, which was my fathers basic threat (cannot blame her reasoning given some close family example where mother did not get child custody despite winning the case). My mother till today says she rates her life as happy and very blessed because she got to spend it with her children and that constitutes her universe.
    A lot of things about my mother you might be able to understand more than even us-her children. In the same way, your kids and us most definitely relate on a lot of matters. We cannot estimate your love, for a mothers love knows no bounds. But you also cannot feel how piercing is pain we have for your suffering-which you might forget but we cannot.
    I’m sure your children feel the same way.Recommend

  • Someone

    oh and all the morons who are wondering what the lady did to bring out her husbands anger, I wish there was some coopex powder for roaches like you. Recommend

  • me too

    @Clarus: “As long as parents will blindly give away their daughters for the sake of landing them up into rich families we will get to hear such ordeals. Girls Parents should understand the difference between “RIGHT GUY” and “BEST GUY”.”

    I chose the man I married. He was my batch mate in MBA school – so clearly both of us were educated.. This still happened to me. These things are not heard about it in well to do families because of honour and shame. IT does not mean they do not happen. Incidentally they also happen in Western societies where parents are in no way responsible for finding a spouse for the child. Only difference with the west is their laws which do empower the victim.Recommend

  • Haris Naved Ahmed

    @Amenah: If it is a true story, then I acknowledge your courage. You took the right decision, I can understand why you took so much time to decide, may be you were gathering courage to do it all. In Islam, women enjoy highest level of respet and I wonder why men get so savage. I wish endless success for you and your kids. Recommend

  • TAHIR

    BRAVE LADY….you took sometime to leave the barbarian but that was your wisest decision…God bless you ..You are the MODEL for all such ladies.Recommend

  • Faizan Lari

    Just one single line: HATTS OFF TO U!Recommend

  • Asma

    i really feel bad for you but i must say you are very courageous and took the right stand.Recommend

  • Ms. Ras

    @Zahid Ishaq Khan:

    I hate this fallacy of ” Taali aik hath se nahi bajti” and the misuse of it in a divorce and separation case….. This is misused so much and with so much of convenience…… If a lady has a cruel husband who wants to out power her through his physical strength or through his emotional or verbal abuse then there is no taali…. just like a physco teacher torturing students on petty matters ther is no taali… ….just like our last government who was making the lives of awaam miserable….. these are all one sided powe plays…….there is a lot happenign in the name of marriage which is perfect example of misuse of manly power.. and is wrongly associated with taali aik hath se nahi bajti….. so please stope misusing this proverb for absued women out there…Recommend

  • @Bakhat_Nasr

    @TAHIR:
    Well said,sir.She really was a brave laday.Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    @me too:
    I share your pain and do agree that marriage is a bit of a lottery, whatever the level of due diligence employed. Marriage at a young age carries greater risk, irrespective of whether it is a Love marriage or an arranged one. At that very young age libido, adrenaline & hormones are abuzz. The mind is not developed well enough to differentiate between Love, Lust and Infatuation. It took me at least five years after marriage — living, eating, sleeping, caring, sharing and farting together to truly believe I loved my wife. That does not preclude us from arguing or fighting at times for very simple reasons. However care is taken not to be verbally abusive or too insensitive.
    The “love at first sight” routine I have been through too. Now as a more mature individual it is easy to recognize it at “lust at first sight”.
    To believe that marriage is a bed of roses is a result of reading too many “Mills and Boon” type of novels. Even after twenty six years of marital partnership I still need to work to maintain the relationship. The way I evaluate myself I barely give myself Pass marks, a sharp contrast to my sterling academic record.
    Marriage is a work in progress, without nourishment the relationship will die. Recommend

  • DocAli

    I would’ve married you at any point, from those first fifteen years till the recent 12. It’s a pity that matches are made in the heavens!Recommend

  • naveed

    great job amenah. Your story is a pat on back of those women going through same circumstances.

    respectRecommend

  • Syeda Jafri

    Impressive! Hats off to ur bravery. Thanks 4 sharing ur experience so effectivelyRecommend

  • Maleeha Shah

    …and they say, “She should have made the marriage work.” :'(Recommend