Samra’s story: When marital abuse did not break her

Published: June 10, 2013
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“I have no father, brother, son, or husband to support me. But I have done it, all by myself. If I can do it, anyone can.” PHOTO: REUTERS

Attending the graduation ceremony of students at the prestigious University of Toronto, my daughter pointed out Samra Zafar, saying

“She topped in Economics and she is a Pakistani!” 

Samra was flanked not by parents, but two daughters, aged 12 and seven. I wanted to know more about her, and hence invited her over to our house next evening.

At home, while sipping tea, Samra shared her 14 year journey with me and I was absolutely floored by her story.

In 1999, in Abu Dhabi, Samra was a brilliant 16-years-old student of grade 11, dreaming to go to a foreign university to pursue higher studies. Her only fault was that she was tall and extremely good looking – she was a dream bride. Hence when the proposal from a ‘well settled boy in Canada’ arrived, it was difficult for her working class parents to refuse. Eldest of four daughters, the parents thought this would give her a great opportunity to go aboard and pursue her dream, under the safety of her husband and in-laws.

The in-laws reassured their support too.

However, once married and in Canada, things changed. She was told,

“The atmosphere in high schools is not good, and hence it is better to not be thankless and stay happy at home.”

Samra refused to give up though and completed her high school courses through distance learning.

Despite being a mom at the age of 18, she excelled in her high school exams and got accepted to the University of Toronto. Her husband, however, refused to support her and his good financial status left her ineligible for university loans.  She tried to convince her in laws for three years but to no avail.

It was not just her education; she was under strict vigil all the time. She was not allowed to leave the house, had no cell phone and was not allowed to learn how to drive. She never had a penny on herself and was constantly abused and neglected.

Samra had not visited her parents for five years. The first time she went back was when her father sent tickets for Samra and her daughter. When she was leaving, she asked her husband fora meagre $10 so that she could have some coffee and buy some chocolate for her daughter during their transit stop at Heathrow Airport. He just snarled at here and said,

 “Ask your father for that too.”

She had left and did not intend to come back, but her husband begged her to return with a promise that he would change and that she will be allowed to study this time; he said that he realised he could not live without her.  Reassured, Samra returned, only to know that once she got pregnant the second time, the physical abuse was to became worse.

Samra stated that,

“A bruise on my upper arm was a permanent fixture, as in every bout of anger, he would grab my arm really hard and squeeze. Often he pushed me, pulled my hair and spit in my face, even in front of my daughters.”

Again disheartened, she went back to her father’s home, pregnant with her second daughter. Within a couple of months her father suddenly fell ill and passed away. Samra recalls the day before his death and the advice her father gave her when he said,

“My life is uncertain, I may not live to look after you. You have to be strong and pull yourself out of this. I have always envisioned seeing you at the top of a world ranking University.”

Things had changed. Her mother was alone now and had two other unmarried daughters to support.

Samra, accepting it as fate, returned to her husband. To earn her own money, she began baby sitting in her house. As consolation to continue her work, she would give her husband some pocket money from which he would buy his cigarettes and a share to her mother in law, too, to earn their approval.

In 2008, she applied again and got accepted to the University of Toronto. This time she did not have to look to her husband for financial assistance, as her child care business could enable her to pay her own fees. However, this led to escalation of physical abuse. She was instructed by her husband on a daily basis,

“Don’t talk to your male professors, don’t talk to anyone on campus and don’t go to the library.”

The abuse was so severe, that she had to take a break after the first year. Several times she had suicidal thoughts and her self-confidence had completely shattered. That led her to a meeting with the Psychological Counsellor at the university campus. She attended the sessions in secrecy and there she was informed that what she was going through was a typical cycle of domestic abuse. And that it was not her fault, or her destiny to bear it.

She reveals;

“It was my daily routine to beg my husband and ask him, ‘Why do you do this? Why don’t you love me?’”

And all he replied with each time was,

“Because you deserve this.”

The psychological counselling at the university, gave her the strength to get back to university. By the second year, the abuse had become worse but she had been told that she could call 911 if need be.

“I will call the cops, if you hit me again.” She uttered once, while her husband raised his hand. That is what triggered him to say,

Talaq, talaq, talaq.

(I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you.)

Samra says,

“I was shattered, and I did not know what to do next. If I left the house, I would not have childcare income. How would I continue to study? I had two young girls to support.”

Samra’s husband and in-laws ran from pillar to post to get Fatwas to invalidate the divorce. Samra laughs,

 “Once my mother-in-law even brought a person for the necessary Halala to rectify the Talaq.”

However, by now Samra had, despite many weak moments, gathered enough strength to move out of this cyclical abuse and face what came her way.

She shifted to a residence at the university campus. Her husband and in-laws then tried threatening her; they said either return or they would malign her in the local Pakistani community of her ‘living’ with men at the university. Her husband often told their daughter,

“Do you think your mother goes to university to study only?”

Samra revealed that,

“After a decade of physical, financial, psychological and emotional, abuse it was only in the summer of 2011, that I finally had the courage to go to the cops and give a detailed, date by date account of the abuse I faced, along with the evidence.”

As a result, her husband was arrested on four counts of assault. Despite two court cases, three jobs and two children, she continued to excel in her studies and became head teaching assistant.

Today, Monday June 10, 2013, at the official convocation of the prestigious University of Toronto, Samra will not only be awarded a Bachelors degree in Economics, but she will also be awarded the prestigious Top Student Award in Economics. She also has to her credit a dozen more awards given to her for her academic excellence in the past four years, including the  prestigious John H Moss Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a single student in the entire university (all three campuses). She has also been admitted to the PhD program in Economics at the University of Toronto, with a full scholarship.

When not studying or working, Samra loves cooking for her girls and gives them all the free time she gets.

“We are now the happiest we have ever been.”

I asked her how she would advise other girls who are trapped in the same scenario and to that she said,

 “Do not let anyone disrespect you. Believe in yourself. You are the only one who can change your situation. It is not easy, but it isn’t impossible either. I had all the disadvantages any girl could have.”

She refers to the myth of needing a man as a support,

“I have no father, brother, son, or husband to support me. But I have done it, all by myself. If I can do it, anyone can.”

Read more by Ilmana here or follow her on Twitter @Zeemana 

ilmana.fasih

Dr Ilmana Fasih

An Indian gynaecologist, married to a Pakistani, Ilmana is a health activist, and m-Health entrepreneur, who writes on social and health issues as a passion. She dreams of a world without borders and wars.

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

  • Faraz

    How inspiringRecommend

  • Shah (Berlin)

    First of all, Respect…..I hope she has now a better future…..

    Second thing…my advice to all the women who are facing abuse at home and are living abroad….PLEASE GO TO THE POLICE….I know its a stuff decision but it has to be done…I feel sorry for this woman who for so long had to go through such pain….Even before the husband gave divorce she should have filed a case….Usually the EU countries or Canada etc have laws these days that are very women friendly, she would have gotten enough support from the government even before….Such Men deserve to be jailed and tried in courts…..

    “Do not let anyone disrespect you. Believe in yourself. You are the only one who can change your situation. It is not easy, but it isn’t impossible either. I had all the disadvantages any girl could have.”
    Excellent statement……

    In any case
    But just some thing I would like to point out………if one guy was a maniac please dont envolve all the men in this….I personally find these feminist statements some time offending…….its just like blaming terrorism on all Pakistanis…….just a word of adviceRecommend

  • Man

    Inspiring story about a woman who defied all odds to earn her education and escape her husband. The only problem is, if this was Pakistan and not Canada it wouldnt have been possible.Recommend

  • Zubair Ali

    Subhanallah. May she be blessed and see happiness for her remaining life.Recommend

  • Azeem Charania

    Wow, tears came out…
    Truly an inspiring women:) God Bless her.Recommend

  • dancing troy

    Inspiring!!!

    May Ma’am Samra live a happy, prosperous life.Recommend

  • KP

    A moving, poignant story told beautifully. Kudos Ilmana ji!Recommend

  • Faisal

    Sounds like a Teen Aurtein Teen Kahaniyaan story being translated in EnglishRecommend

  • Mehroz Ahmed

    Story of courage, determination and struggle but success. Well done Samra. May ALLAH bless you with all time happiness. AmenRecommend

  • owais Arshad

    Simply I would say “proud of you sister samra” Recommend

  • Naveed Razzaq

    brave, brilliant and exceptional! Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nicely told and lesson at the end is clear and relates to all.Recommend

  • Homie

    hats off. god bless. worth sharing. worth reading. Recommend

  • Bloomberg

    I personally know Samra and she is one of the most professional and intellectually capable people I know.

    Reading this has launched my respect for her even far higher than where it already was.Recommend

  • Shabir Afzal

    Respect….Recommend

  • Sajjad Qamar

    The story is truly inspirational. I’m really moved by the bravery, courage & determination of Ms. Samra. The struggle was thus rewarding. Lots of prayers and best wishes for the exceptionally strong-headed woman.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Wish this brave lady, Samra, the very best in life :)Recommend

  • Hanna

    Wow! I am in awe of Samra…my daughter was one of her children that she took care of in her home in 2007. She CARED for her and all others in her care and I absolutely loved Samra. She had such presence about her…I also felt that there was something going on with the husband and mother-in-law…I am now floored to think that I could have helped her more!!! She is an excellent role model for women in similar circumstances and I will stay connected with her. Thank you for this story!!! Recommend

  • TrueBlue43

    The only thing i don’t like in this article is the link between a woman winning her respect back and performing “outstanding” in something (in this case education) …… Respect & care are as much a right of women as these are for men ….. fighting for it mustn’t require a woman to be extra ordinary in something ……. being a guy brought up in a Pakistan, i never realized the depth of the sufferings the female gender goes through in routine in my early years …. however, as you age & mature, you start realizing the inequality, injustice & the limited breathing speace the society gives to them ….. & what do we do as MEN-the-bread-earners …… we prefer to be hypocrites avoiding the discussion and reap the benefits whenever & however these come …… We Pakistani men (well the majority and a significant one) are pathetic and inhuman for what we do to our women …….

    For me the best thing a woman can do in our society is to be independent of the financial dependence on men …… Study, acquire a skill or do whatever you deem appropriate given the set of oppurtunities, but for God sake be ready to earn your own living if need be ….. otherwise, you shall keep discovering our limitless capability of gender based exploitation ……. Recommend

  • http://reviewpakistan.com Atif

    Sadly, this thing can never happen in Pakistan as Muslim countries doesnt give respect to women as an individual due to social and political interests of Mullahs.Recommend

  • Khande

    This breaks my heart and enrages me at the same time. Being a Canadian Pakistani, this infuriates me as my entire community’s image is at risk because of some lunatic who abuses his wife. I am glad she summed up the courage to seek help at UofT and this resulting in his arrest. I hope his family is well known for their crime. Well done and good luck in your future studies, hopefully I will cross paths with this brave woman on campus. Recommend

  • Dawood Khan

    It was really an inspiring one. May she lead a better life ahead !!! Recommend

  • Moiz Omar

    Very inspiring! Good luck to Samra, in whatever she decides to pursue in her future.Recommend

  • she

    sounds like a smart woman, why did she allow this abuse for so many years? Why didn;t her father tell her to divorce him? Besides, aren’t arranged marriages supposed to be very well researched? why did her family allow some unknown guy to marry her? Recommend

  • Marina

    So proud of her!Recommend

  • Shizra

    Its a lesson for all women who face abuse at home on daily one has to stand up so its always better to raise voice at the very first assault.Recommend

  • Rishabh Dev

    I am really happy that you reported the matter to the police. I am saying to all women and all the victims that suffer these kinds of things. You all should report any matter to the police, I must say she is really brave.Humanity doesnt exist nowdays. People should not be controlling others and if she wants to peruse higher studies then its her own decision, i mean we talk about equality between men and women? whats this?? People who commit crimes like rape, assault, etc should be given capital punishment or should be treated as the same way as that person treated other person. He should be given the same treatment, lock in a room, in a dark room, without anything. I love how women are perusing studies nowdays instead of marriage. They can do whatever they want, like studies without any restrictions. We should change thinking of some people who think females cant do anything in life. I am glad at the end he got what he deserved. She should get all the awards that she deserved. All the men who think women are nothing but their property, they should change their thinking. Its 2013, and there are still some countries that believe women are nothing and cant do anything in life. I am a male and I study at University of Toronto but I can never think of even slapping anyone, let alone locking someone in the room. Everyone is equal in my eyes and I believe society should do something to stop these cruelty. At the end we all are human beings who have some duties in the world.

    She is beautiful and tall, it doesnt mean that anyone can mess her life. She is a human being and we must treat her equal not to give her these bad treatment.!!!

    Good luckk to this girl and I will pray for you!!!Recommend

  • najia

    Amazing story! I’m highly impressed by this courageous woman.
    Dear Ms. Samra Zafar,

    I truly respect your privacy, but if you don’t mind, is it possible to see you in-person? Or at least can we hav a telephonic conversation? My name is Najia and I’m pursuing a degree in Psychology from USA.
    The reason I want to be a psychologist is to end the domestic violence, and to get rid of the joint family system which has been adopted by Hindu culture.
    I hav a few friends who went thru such domestic issues, and I tried to help them in some ways.
    However, I’d love to meet you and your daughters as well. Feel free to email me at: [email protected], only if you feel comfortable.
    I wish u and your daughters all the best in future!Recommend

  • Fatima

    Awe-inspiring! Recommend

  • Disha Parekh

    @TrueBlue43: Bless your soul. Asia could use more men like you :)Recommend

  • Maria

    I always support any woman who works against abuse – be it in the developing world where women have fewer rights and and the developed world where women have comparatively more rights. What I find disappointing is that Samra did not leave her abusive relationship long ago. I have noted that many women- be they Muslim or non Muslim remain in abusive relationships for far too long. In Samra’s case, it appears she left her husband after he gave her a divorce by declaring Talaq three times. In many Western countries, Canada included, women have access to shelters, social service support workers, counselling and financial support. There are large numbers of single women living with children in Western countries on welfare who live on state assistance- As an educated woman, Samra could have left her abusive husband a long time ago and went on welfare regardless of her husband’s financial status. In fact, she would have a right to claim child support from her abusive husband. I have seen many women leave abusive relationships far too late- not too long ago a Canadian man (of British ancestry) killed his girlfriend in Oshawa ( Canada) and there are regular stories of women being abused in dysfunctional relationships and marriages in all communities. Unfortunately, this type of wife abuse is very prevalent in the Afghani and Sikh communties in North America but the message has to get out to all women that there is no need to suffer when they are aware of their rights.Recommend

  • kanwal

    @shah (berlin)
    Awsome advice.
    This kind of girls changes a society. Go girl! Your life has only just started. Recommend

  • Sanity

    Hats off to You Gurl!!Recommend

  • Saima

    I am facing exactly the same thing here in the US. By my in laws and husband. Anyways I wish Samar all the best. AmeenRecommend

  • Haider

    respect.!
    I just wonder why do girls wait for getting pregnant and having child under such circumstances??? cant they decipher the attitude of their in-laws and husband. Samra is a lucky lady living in a country where humanity comes first. There are thousands (may be millions) of women living in Pakistan and other countries who suffer from domestic violence on daily basis. The violence is quite high and harsh in rural areas where women take this as a part of their fate considering themselves as a second grade human.
    I wish women get enough awareness and financial independence so that they may live like other fellows. All the best for your future endeavors and wish you a happy future free from all troubles. Recommend

  • http://wannabehappyalways.wordpress.com/ Madhia

    Brave girl… thats the reason i dont want to marry and settle in abroad..Recommend

  • Nasir

    @she:

    ‘She’ makes it sound so simple as to why: 1) allowed abuse for so many years, 2) father not telling to divorce the husband, 3) arranged marriages well researched, etc etc. What ‘She’ forgets is the misgivings of the cultural and the so called religious practices and their repercusions that most parents are forced to face with in Pakistani and other similar societies which make them send off the daughters at a very tender age into marriages as quickly as possible before they are matured enough to understand matrimonial responsibilties. Samra’s story reveals all those short commings in need of debating openly those issues.

    The author of the storey quotes, “I asked her (Samra) how she would advise other girls who are trapped in the same scenario and to that she said, “Do not let anyone disrespect you. Believe in yourself. You are the only one who can change your situation. It is not easy, but it isn’t impossible either. I had all the disadvantages any girl could have.”
    She refers to the myth of needing a man as a support,
    “I have no father, brother, son, or husband to support me. But I have done it, all by myself. If I can do it, anyone can.” ”

    I ask yet another question: Samra could do it being in Canada, how could the girls living in Pakistan go about doing it when deprived and rectricted of all such moral and finacial resource available to them. I know personally of two such cases in my home town I visited after 18 years which requires guidance and help to help them out. Both girls are bright, intelligent wanting to move on with further education but are trapped in their houses with three children each. Recommend

  • Milind

    “She refers to the myth of needing a man as a support,
    “I have no father, brother, son, or husband to support me. But I have done it, all by myself. If I can do it, anyone can.””

    Well that’s possible in Canada due to the structure of the society and Govt. support. Not in Pakistan…

    Inspiring article BTW. Best wishes to her.Recommend

  • Qasim

    well done nice article!Recommend

  • Arshad

    Very inspiring! there are certain lessons to be learnt:

    Knowledge is the key to the universe;
    Pursuit for knowledge should not stop in any sort of odd circumstances;
    Courage has to be shown to come out of such a dreadening situation;
    There is a limit to tyrrany and injustice;
    She being grown up in Pakistan went at length to keep her relationship intact at the cost of her studies, her physical well being and suffered lot of mental agony, so girls (probably more than boys) in east value their family cohesion in such circumstances;
    For parents of a daughter, please carryout all sort of necessary background checks before wedding your daughters off to a stranger;
    Never give up

    May ALLAH shower all the blessings upon her and her all near and dear onesRecommend

  • Syed

    An awe inspiring story of a very strong and dedicated woman (my eyes were moist while reading this), the writter couldn’t have described it better. Best wishes to both. May Allah guide such men to be affectionate and humble while having a balanced approach with their spouses. Once again, all credit goes to the writter for high lighting such mind sets that exists even in the expatriates. Fortuanately for Samra justice was served cause she was in Canada, there are many girls like her in Pakistan whose dreams are shattered and yet there are some who get full scholarship in prestigious universities for e.g that girl from a slum area in Karachi who has been inducted in harvard.MashaAllah.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @najia: The reason I want to be a psychologist is to end the domestic violence, and to get rid of the joint family system which has been adopted by Hindu culture.

    It is nice to know some one is going to get a degree in Psychology to end domestic violence and get rid of the joint family system adopted by Hindu culture. It is shame no one thought about doing that before.Recommend

  • The only rationalist left

    Samra’s husband brought her to Canada otherwise she’d still be stuck in 3rd world. The irony!Recommend

  • Historian 1

    A nice plot for HUM TV serial!!Recommend

  • gp65

    @Saima: “I am facing exactly the same thing here in the US. By my in laws and husband. Anyways I wish Samar all the best. Ameen”

    Please call the national toll free 24 hour hotline for victims of violence 1−800−799−SAFE(7233).

    There is a law in US called VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) which will protect you. Your husband may threaten to take your kids away from you or send you back to your home country because your immigration status depends on him if you complain. Please know that he is bluffing.

    Yes it is scary to take the first step. But take courage in both your hands and make the call. My prayers are with you.Recommend

  • Ilmana Fasih

    @Khande:
    Honestly, there are thousands and thousands of girls here in Canada, not just Pakistani, but Indians and other South Asian nationalities too, and of other faiths who are suffering abuse at home. And they are being controlled by in Laws and husband. Many are not as physically abused as Samra, but are psychologically and financially controlled. And we in the social services are aware of it. The only way they can be helped is by standing up and asking the system to help them. Recommend

  • Sam

    @The only rationalist left:
    Says, “In 1999, in Abu Dhabi, Samra was a brilliant 16-years-old student of grade 11, dreaming to go to a foreign university to pursue higher studies.” After high school, she could have applied for admission with a scholarship. She wasn’t stuck in ‘3rd world’ anyway.Recommend

  • Sidra

    Truly inspiring .. May she be blessed with happiness all her life! AmeenRecommend

  • Allahi Mohammad

    “The joint family system which has been adopted by Hindu culture”

    I have seen the joint family system and it is not a hindu culture but the culture of Indian Subcontinent, hence you will see it in every community there. The best part is, if relatives are good then inlaws can’t do anything wrong to girl. Everyone lives under a social surveillance.

    In neuclear families, domestic violence rate is much higher.Recommend

  • Madeeha

    Very nicely written. I wonder when these norms will be changed. When the men in our society will learn to respect women. Hats off to the lady and good luck !Recommend

  • Insaan

    @The only rationalist left: Samra’s husband brought her to Canada otherwise she’d still be stuck in 3rd world. The irony!

    How did her husband get here? If husband brought her here, it does not give him a right to abuse her. May be the guy was older/insecure and afraid if he let her have a cell phone or car she may leave him for a better guy. He did not do any favor to her, he married the 16 yr old girl.

    It is hard to know the reality with one sided story. I wish author had contacted husband and his family also.Recommend

  • ibrahim i babayo

    no condition is parminent sister but Alhamdullah Allah make it 4u try and 4giv &4gat.i will lean some from u tx best of luckRecommend

  • Mano

    @The only rationalist left:
    you got to be kidding me. So you are saying that she should have endured the torture because of the “ehsaan” her husband did? With her brilliant academics’ career, I am sure she would have made it out of “third” world herself. Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Saima: Well if your husband or in laws try to hurt you or threaten you to harm you physically you need to be careful. There are many organizations with names like Asha, Manavi, Sakhi, Maitri, Sneha and Sahara, scattered throughout the USA, all committed to helping South Asian women trapped in situations of domestic violence. Hope things get better and you won’t need any outside helpRecommend

  • Raja Islam

    @najia:
    I beliee that it is inappropriat for you and the writer to use the individuals real name, especially her last name. One being a doctor and the other a psychologist should know better than that.Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    @Saima:
    there are many agencies in the US that you can reach out to. There are hotlines for abused women in case you do not want to go to the police.Recommend

  • sehar

    this s really inspiring for me…. May Allah gv me same strength like samra…..Recommend

  • Kinza Ansari

    That’s my Mom. I am so lucky to have her as my mother. She is so strong and brave. I love her soooo much. She is my inspiration; I hope to become like her some day.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Haider: “I just wonder why do girls wait for getting pregnant and having child under such circumstances??? cant they decipher the attitude of their in-laws and husband. There are thousands (may be millions) of women living in Pakistan and other countries who suffer from domestic violence on daily basis.”

    Do you mean millions of Pakistani women should stop having children and/or getting divorces? There should be laws against “beating” and abuse. Recommend

  • Tabinda

    Such an inspiring story…. Wish Samra lots of happiness in her life…. Such a brave woman she is, but like some other people here have said, she had one big advantage and that is not having to go through all this in pakistan……. These days i am trying to help a close friend caught in a similar cycle of domestic abuse….. Try as i might i have not been able to do much for her expect praying and offering support…… Searched high an low there isnt one psychologist here who specialises/ has some experience in treating abusers or victims of abuse. There isnt one hotline available that she can call for help in emergency .she is a doctor,and now when she finally plucked the courage to leave him,she is facing difficulty in finding a place in safe , respectable neighbourhood to rent out,where she and her 2 small kids can live without a ‘father, husband, son or brother’.”the respectable” homeowners here in pakistan usually dont want a single woman with questionable marital status/terms to live in their house….. Seeing all this my friend has started thinking that maybe its better to live with her abusive husband than to leave him and expose her and her daughter to a society that still isnt ready to accept women who are not accompanied by a ‘father, son, brother or husband’. Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Madhia: Brave girl… thats the reason i dont want to marry and settle in abroad.

    Did you read this news in ET
    A woman was sold for Rs350,000 in an open auction by a Panchayat. Her husband told the panchayat that he did not want to keep her because she had damaged his ‘honour’. The panchayat then ordered him to sell her.” Recommend

  • Woman

    Inspirational to the extent of inducing goosebumps.
    Remarkable woman fighting like an unconquerable warrior. Salute to the iron lady.

    Another very appreciative thing that I came accross while going throught his read, a lot of men have appreciated the stance of this lady to file cases against her husband and fight for her rights while criticising her for not taking a stand earlier and tolerating the inhumane treatment of husband and in laws for a decade. This clearly shows the inclination of the society towards humanity, social justice and respect of individual as a person.

    Kudos to all the brothers commenting here and kudos to the families whose brought up create such mature, educated and sensible muslims.

    This society seems to be not a place where women’s stance of fighting for her rights and respect is discouraged, instead, I see people encouraging such initiative. No doubt, people posting here represent very small segment of society but I’m happy that be it small, it does exist :)Recommend

  • The only rationalist left

    If Abu Dhabi is not a 3rd world country then what is ?

    Academic success ? Her posters are not fluttering around in Toronto or in GTA. There are tons of atudents here with worse backgrounds who graduate with 4.0 gpa from UofT. Samra’s is not a unique story although “dr” Fasih would have us believe so. Canada’s official religion is feminism so of course the law would be biased in her favour.

    @insaan: Is that your definition of insecure ? If yes then there is no one more insecure than a woman. The fact she cannot stand her husband/boy friend having multiple relationships/polygamy highlights the deeply ingrained insecurity of every woman. She knows that over the years, the value of her husan/beauty will depreciate as demons of time will nibble away her beauty. Recommend

  • TrueBlue43

    @Tabinda: painful, sad but very true ….. :(Recommend

  • TrueBlue43

    @Disha Parekh: Thanks …… By the way, not an easy road Ms Parekh ….. have already earned a few titles (censored) by close relatives & friends ….. just a little example ….. in the early times of my marriage, my father tried to “train” me how to “manage” my wife (no disrespect intended) …… we disagreed as i in principal disagreed to his management style being too skewed towards male gender in the family. The arguments were quite a few in the beginnig but things settled down over the years, though with a lot of patiance & effort and we still live together ;) …… however, he still thinks my wife is not in my “control” ……. & at the end of these mostly one sided discussions, i end up seeing both my mother & my wife smiling at my situation ……. ;)

    this fight for women has so many fronts that at times one really gets bogged down and bitter …… but for the sake of your mother, your wife, your sister & your daughter in specific & other women around you in general, every man ought to do it …… it is difficult to be just & honest in this world ….. but then, it is one’s own choice to be & we pay for our choices ……. cheersRecommend

  • Nasir

    @Insaan:

    ‘INSAN’ should know it is not a story of just one woman named Samra. The comments this story has received shows millions other women are suffering the same injustice, so why there is a need expressed for the author to have contacted husband’s family. Further, an old man or a husband has no right to prevent his wife not having a cell phone out of fear that he might loose her to some other guy. The old man should be wiser not to marry a much younger wife if he must live in doubt that his younger wife might be absconding with other men. Recommend

  • Dubai Resident

    @ The Only Rationalist Left “Samra’s husband brought her to Canada otherwise she’d still be stuck in 3rd world. The irony!”

    What an ignorant comment.I am sure Samra was much happier in Abu Dhabi (3rd world) rather than to be abused in Canada (1st world). Also, just for your information, GDP per capita of UAE is much higher than Canada and there are many American, Canadian and European institutions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for higher studies. Also UAE is the most secured country in the world.Recommend

  • KAY

    @ The Only Rationalist Left “Samra’s husband brought her to Canada otherwise she’d still be stuck in 3rd world. The irony!”

    What is the benefit of going to 1st world (Canada) if she gets house arrested and abused for life by her 1st world Canadian husband??Recommend

  • ayesha shafiq

    Only encouraged girls can do?. Educated girls also abuse by husbands. I also have a tragedy and I can’t leave because of my kids. My husband hits me too much. Is there anyone who can write a story or make a drama of my life?. I am in pain and suffering too.Recommend

  • Somee Shah

    My life in USA started the same way with few differences..I admire Samra’s courage ..I got out after 15 years and I am a successful professional in USA .My only suggestion is please be there for these women don’t judge them and don’t give up on them .If I didn’t have the courage in me determined to make a better life and the unrelenting support of my friends and family I would not have been where I am today .Recommend

  • Kabir Tariq

    I can’t belive what I just read, truly inspiring. I feel very honored just to have been in the same economics class at UofT Mississauga with this extraordinary woman. She was also my Teaching Assistant for one semester an she was extremely helpful.
    If you read this,
    Thank You Samra and I hope you live you life to the utmost potential!Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Nasir: Well this is a story about a girl who married when she was 16 yr old. Sixteen yr olds some times are not that mature. That might have started the problems in the family. I am assuming husbands and his family acted immature too.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @ayesha shafiq: I can’t leave because of my kids. My husband hits me too much.

    Hitting is unacceptable. If Police is called (in USA) you husband will be taken to jail if policemen finds evidence that your husband hit you.

    This whole fighting may be damaging your kids psychologically. Is your husband treating your kids the same way.

    I have a feeling your husband is a very insecure man.Recommend

  • http://... nimra

    So proud of this person, may Allah subhaan wa taala shower his endless blessings on Samra and her family! ameeen. INSPIRED MUCHHHHHRecommend

  • Nasir

    @Insaan:
    Here we go blaming it on Hindu Culture. If it is or has been the Hindu Culture then why is the Muslims are practicing it on innocent Muslim women. For Gods’ sake stop bringing in religious differences into an inhuman treatment of women be they are Hinus or Muslims. Thank you, ‘Insaan’ if you are one. Recommend

  • Nasir

    @Shizra:
    Why are the opressed women so afraid of Silence?
    Silence is the root of everything.
    If you spiral into its void,
    A hundred voices will thunder messages you long to hear.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @ayesha shafiq: ” Is there anyone who can write a story or make a drama of my life?. I am in pain and suffering too.”

    How has life changed for you? Are you much happier now? You say you are in pain and suffering too?Recommend

  • sterry

    @Nasir: Living in an extended family situation has nothing to do with Hinduism – almost all immigrants from 3rd World Countries live with multiple families in the beginning. Africans, Vietnamese, Iraqi , Afghani , Somali refugees and of course South Asians. They are unaware how to live in the developed world at first, they don’t have adequate money, they need child support, don’t want to pay for daycare and they don’t feel confident are the reasons. Due to financial problems and lack of awareness, they continue to live in shared accomodation and they suffer lots of abuse together. Brothers, their wives, children, parents all share the same home. The Western neighbours all hate seeing immigrants living like this since it brings down property values. The good news is that after 1 or 2 generations, the adult children of these immigrants change and don’t want to live in an extended family household. You can usually tell in North America that people are recent immigrants or just poor if multiple families live in the same home.Recommend

  • Insaan

    @Nasir: For Gods’ sake stop bringing in religious differences into an inhuman treatment of women be they are Hinus or Muslims. Thank you, ‘Insaan’ if you are one

    I did not bring religion into this. Religion is the last thing that comes to my mind when I interact with some one.

    I don’t know if God created a man in his image or a man created God in his image. God seems to favor men.Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    @ayesha shafiq:
    Not a problem. Let us have your contact and I am sure someone will interview you and write about it. However, if things are bad please cal the police or call a hotline.Recommend

  • Citizen

    @Faisal:

    Your compassion for this girl who’s obviously gone through various odds is just awe-inspiring.Recommend

  • Citizen

    @Insaan:

    Not just in the United States, even Pakistan has Domestic Violence regulations. The question is whether or not people want to use these regulations for the greater benefit of society, or let domestic violence continue, destroying families.Recommend

  • Saqib Shah

    While I totally, fully and completely commend the courage of this strong woman, I must point out that she had at least ONE thing on her side, i.e. she was in Canada, and that itself is a far bigger help than having usless brothers or sons in Pakistan. Recommend

  • MNIA

    I just graduated from the university of Toronto as well with her just a few days ago in the same ceremony as Samra, I must say that she deserved to get that scholarship and she is an inspiration for Pakistani young girls who are about to get married. Domestic abuse should not be TOLERATED AT ANY COST. It is strictly against the beloved teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
    However, it takes alot of courage to go report these kind of cases because women like her have to face many factors that come into play such as: financial dependance, family pressure, children, societal dishonour etc.

    Thus as Shah (berlin) states above…. its not easy and she cannot just go report it as soon as the abuse starts to happen. Women have to fight all these barriers to summon up the courage to stand up for themselves.

    Nevertheless, I am proud that I attended and graduated from the same university as Samra!Recommend

  • Nasir

    @sterry:
    Agreed without reservation.

    Painting just one culture being responsible for the ill treatment of women is inappropriate in this discussion. Recommend

  • Clarus

    An eye opener for all the parents. In many instances parents knowingly handover their daughters to shady guys only to land them with someone who has a foreign nationality. As long as parents/girls will opt for the Best guy instead of Right guy n only look at his wealth and his foreign passport instead at his family background/values/character then don’t be surprised when that guy or his mother starts treating your daughter like a mannequin and control her every move.Recommend

  • Ab

    i wish i could have same strength when it happens to me.. but i dnt have to much strength and still after divorce m facing problems and disgrace from my own family..Recommend

  • Insaan

    @sterry: Due to financial problems and lack of awareness, they continue to live in shared accommodation and they suffer lots of abuse together.

    I can understand renting due to financial problems, but that is rare. These people have no respect for local laws. They know what they are doing. Local laws limit the number of people that can live in an apartment or number of unrelated people living in a home. If one has a son and a daughter, they need at least a three bedroom apartment. Many people do it to save rent. Many people rent for cash and don’t pay taxes on rental income. People with unattractive wives even rent to non-relatives. Some of these people do cash jobs (like babysitting or working for a desi owned business like a grocery store or gas station) and don’t pay taxes.

    Spanish people beat every one in these rental business some even rent a Queen size bed to 2 people.

    It will be harder to beat your wife if there are 10 people around, unless you take her out for a long drive and beat her in the car.Recommend

  • Sane

    Samra! tributes to you for academic and domestic achievements. His ex-husband and in-laws must be punished exemplary. I must say that electronic media must give space to her or others stories in news and current affairs programs.

    Samra! keep fighting to win. You are a winner.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Kinza Ansari:

    That’s my Mom. I am so lucky to have her as my mother. She is so strong and brave. I love her soooo much. She is my inspiration; I hope to become like her some day.

    Sure you must take inspiration. You have a great mother indeed. But, do not wish to have miseries she suffered. I wish you and a happy and contended life.Recommend

  • Truth

    Pity on all u desi people in believing what ever you read
    & what ever you see. Recommend

  • Samreen

    @Saima:

    What are you waiting for?Recommend

  • Samreen

    @The only rationalist left:

    Dear the only rationalist ( i hope so) left, you are being a bad bug in a very respected scenario right here. Maybe you are not fully understanding the situation or maybe you are just too restless to give amateur replies.

    Please be rationale and see how many people would like you to comment here, i guess the stardom week is over . :)Recommend

  • Samreen

    @Truth:

    Okay , we have one more stardom hungry here. Lets go!Recommend

  • Maryam

    This is so inspiring (Y)Recommend

  • Shumaila Khan

    I don’t know why all are just believing on one sided story.
    I know her husband’s family well, they are very open minded and well mannered people.Recommend

  • Shumaila Khan

    Dr Ilmana Fasih’s blog is running hot.Recommend

  • Samreen

    @Shumaila Khan:

    This is the area where we all tend to fall blindly Shumaila. An open minded and well mannered Family will never control you like a puppet. They know there limits and they know that Karma works its wonders on people be it open minded or shallow minded.

    Recommend

  • Sobia F

    Excellent piece of work and hats off to Samra Zafar for not giving up and continuing with her struggle.Recommend