I was 16 when I was forced to marry a stranger and move to Canada

Published: February 24, 2017
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Samra Zafar. PHOTO: LUIS MORA

When I was a kid, my only goal was to get a good education. I dreamt of attending Harvard or Stanford, and planned to become a doctor one day. I was the eldest of four daughters in a Pakistani Muslim family.

We lived in Ruwais, a small town in the United Arab Emirates, where my father worked in an oil plant and my mother was a teacher. At school, I always stood out among the girls in my class—I was brash, clever, outspoken. I took pride in acing every test. When I brought home top marks, my father would celebrate by handing out sweets.

One day, when I was in Grade 10, I was in my bedroom doing math homework. My mother walked in. She told me I’d received a marriage proposal. I laughed.

“Mom, what are you talking about?” I asked.

She didn’t crack a smile, and I realised she was serious.

 “I’m only 16,” I said. 
“I’m not ready for marriage.”

She told me that I was lucky. The offer came from a nice man who lived in Canada. He was 28-years-old and worked in Information Technology (IT). His sister was a friend of hers. The woman thought I’d make a perfect match for her brother—I was very tall, and he was six foot two.

“They’re going to look so great together in pictures,” she had said to my mother.

For weeks, I pleaded with my mom not to make me go through with it. I’d sit at the foot of her bed, begging. She would tell me it was for my own good, and that a future in Canada would give me opportunities I wouldn’t have here at home. She assured me that she’d spoken to his family about my desire to continue my education.

 “You can go to school in Canada. And we don’t have to worry about you being alone,” she said.

The next thing I knew, his parents were measuring my wrist for wedding bangles. The date was set for five months later, in July 1999.

My friends would talk about their own dream weddings—the gowns they would wear, how they planned to be dutiful wives and homemakers. When I told them about my doubts, they thought I was crazy, that I was a fool, that Allah would punish me for being ungrateful. Marriage was their ultimate goal in life. But I didn’t want it. I just didn’t know how to get away.

The author, top centre, at age seven, shown with her father and three younger sisters at their home in the United Arab Emirates.

For the next few months, I had recurring nightmares about my impending marriage. In my dreams, I was trapped inside a house, watching from the window as students made their way along the sidewalk to school. I’d wake up sweating and scared in the middle of the night. My mother would try to calm me down, telling me I was being hysterical.

One night, when I woke up screaming, she decided to do something about it. She phoned my future husband in Canada and allowed me to speak to him for the first time. All I knew about him were those few details my mom had shared with me the night he proposed. When I picked up the phone, I was meek. I only had one question:

“Will you let me go to school?”

He reassured me:

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll let you go to school. Don’t worry.”

The first time I saw him was on July 22, 1999, the day before the wedding, at his family’s home in Karachi. As we sat sipping tea, I snuck furtive glances at the man who was going to be my husband. I felt dwarfed by him.

The author was just 16 when she learned she would be marrying a 28-year-old IT worker in Canada.

The next day, we were at my grandfather’s house for the wedding. As my mother adjusted my gown, I pulled back. I told her I wanted to run away.

“Don’t be silly,” she said. “All the guests are here.”

Someone put the marriage licence in front of me, I was told to sign it, and I did. Later we held a celebration at a high-end restaurant in the city. Strings of lights and red ribbons decorated the room, and 200 of our parents’ friends came. There were piles of food, and everybody laughed and sang and danced long into the night. I wore a long red lehenga sari. I was told to sit there quietly and look down at my hands, playing the demure bride.

The author on her wedding day at age 17.

This was the first of two ceremonies—we had to make it official so that my husband could apply for my sponsorship in Canada. The second ceremony was still months away, as was my wedding night. In the meantime, I continued to live with my parents and attend school. My new husband stayed in Pakistan for a month. We saw each other a few times, but never for long and usually with others around.

One evening, we went to Pizza Hut with his older brother and his brother’s wife. It was my first date, and I was so shy I barely spoke. We talked regularly online, over MSN Messenger, and occasionally on the phone. Slowly, I grew more comfortable with the marriage. Nothing about him struck me as special. He wasn’t smart or funny or warm, but he was a normal enough guy. He told me how pleased he was that his wife was so smart. He suggested university programs I should consider in Canada. He agreed to wait to have kids until I finished school. He said all the right things.

When my immigration papers came through in August 2000, we both flew to Abu Dhabi for our second, smaller celebration. After it was over, we slept together for the first time. I was petrified. I knew nothing about sex or birth control, and neither did he. My aunt had told me about ovulation, explaining that I couldn’t get pregnant if I had sex on certain days of the month. I thought our wedding night was one of those days. I’d never even seen a condom before.

Later that week, we flew to Canada and I moved into his two-bedroom condo in Mississauga. I missed my parents, my friends, and my school. I was so unhappy that I stopped eating, and I spent most of my days watching TV while my husband was at work. I stopped getting my period right away. At first, I thought it was because of the move, the abrupt change in environment. But a month passed, then another. I was getting sick every morning. My nausea was so severe that I was afraid to go outside in case I fainted.

Finally I told my husband that I needed to see a doctor. I sat in the doctor’s office, listening to him ask me if I understood what being pregnant meant. All I knew was that it meant I couldn’t go to school. This can’t be happening, I thought. This isn’t happening. I was only 17.

During the first few months of my pregnancy, my husband was kind and thoughtful. He took late night trips to the grocery store to satisfy my cravings. He’d call a couple of times a day from work to ask how I was feeling, and every night we cooked dinner together. I discovered an adult learning centre near our condo and enrolled in an English as a second language (ESL) course. I thought our marriage was going well.

Then, two months before our daughter was born, he told me his parents would be moving to Canada and staying with us. He had planned for them to live with us all along, but this was the first I’d heard of it. We moved out of the master bedroom into the smaller one so his parents would be more comfortable.

Everything changed when they arrived. My husband and I stopped spending time alone together. His mother got upset when he paid attention to me, so he didn’t show me any affection. When I would ask if I could call my parents in Ruwais, he or his mother would tell me we couldn’t afford international calls.

In May 2001, I gave birth to our daughter. When we returned from the hospital, my husband slept on the couch while I stayed with the baby in the second bedroom. I’d never felt so alone. I fantasised about stealing money from my husband’s wallet and taking a cab to the airport, calling my parents and asking them to buy me a plane ticket home. But I didn’t want to leave my daughter behind.

When she was a few months old, we bought a four-bedroom house in Streetsville with his parents. I was rarely allowed to leave. I never had a penny to my name. My mother-in-law gave me her cast-off clothing to wear. I didn’t have a cell phone. I wasn’t allowed to go to the grocery store on my own. If I didn’t iron my husband’s shirts or make his lunch or finish my chores, he and my in-laws told me that I was a bad wife who couldn’t keep my family happy. I walked on eggshells all the time. If I asked my husband something, he would reply,

“B****, get out of here.”

Two years in, the abuse got physical. He would grab my wrist and shove me around. I’d be sitting on the couch and he’d slap me upside the head, or grab me so hard on my upper arms that my skin would bruise. Once he tossed a glass of water in my face; I slipped on the floor and threw out my back. Another time he punched a hole in the wall next to my head and told me,

“Next time, it’s going to be you.”

On several occasions, he picked up a knife and said he was going to kill me and then himself.

I was having suicidal thoughts all the time. I was convinced my life was over. One time, I took a razor blade into the shower and thought about cutting myself, stopping only when I heard my baby cry. I believed my unhappiness was my fault—that the secret to perfect wifehood was eluding me. If I’d just done the dishes better, been quieter, anticipated that he wanted a cup of coffee or a glass of water, then none of this would have happened.

When my daughter turned three, I learned about a parent drop-in centre called Ontario Early Years, funded by the Ministry of Education. Located in a Streetsville strip mall, the space was bright and cheerful. My daughter would make crafts or play with play-doh, and the parents would gather in a song circle with their children and recite nursery rhymes. My husband took my daughter and me there a couple of times. Eventually, he let me walk over on my own. I looked forward to those two afternoons a week, when I’d be allowed to step outside by myself without fear, when I’d feel fresh air on my face.

The woman who ran the centre was Pakistani, and she recognised some of the signs of abuse even before I knew what to call it. She saw how jittery I would get if the sessions were running long, or how I’d have to ask permission from my husband if there were any changes to the schedule. She let me use the phone to call my parents. I tearfully told my father what was happening, that I felt imprisoned and helpless. He was horrified, but advised me to wait until I got my Canadian citizenship.

“That way you won’t risk losing your daughter,” he said.

And so I waited another year. Throughout this period, I resumed my education, taking high school courses by correspondence. I applied to university several times. I was always accepted, but my husband would never pay the tuition.

In 2005, I told my husband that I wanted to go home to visit my family for four months. It had been five years since I’d last seen them. When he told me he didn’t have the money, my father sent plane tickets for me and my daughter, who was four by then. On my way to the airport, I asked my husband for $10 to buy myself a coffee and my daughter a snack.

“B****, go ask your father for that too,” he told me, as he dropped me off at Pearson.

When my parents picked me up at the airport, they almost didn’t recognise me. I’d lost so much weight I looked skeletal.

My family were shocked. The bright, confident girl they knew had been replaced with a skittish, scared young woman. It took a couple of months for me to realise I could go to the mall on my own, or to the grocery store. These were small triumphs, but they helped build up my confidence. By the end of my visit, I was resolved not to go back to Canada. As soon as I delivered the news to my husband over the phone, he unleashed a flood of apologies. He told me he’d never hurt me again. He promised we’d move out of the house, that we’d live alone together like we used to.

He wore me down. In August 2005, I returned to Canada. We moved into a new apartment, and my husband was paying both his parents’ mortgage and our rent, leaving little money for anything else. At first, he was kind again. But within a few months, I got pregnant with our second daughter, and the abuse resumed. I needed an escape plan, so I began tutoring and babysitting children in our apartment building, slowly saving money for five months until I had enough for my daughter and me to fly to Karachi, where my sister was getting married. This time I wasn’t coming back.

My father had been diagnosed with kidney failure before I’d arrived in December, and over the next few months I watched helplessly as his condition deteriorated. One day, I sat with him in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“Papa, if something happens to you, what am I going to do?” I asked him.

“Realise the strength you have inside of you,” he told me. “Go back to Canada and find a way to get out of your marriage.”

He died two days later. My husband arrived in Karachi that week for the funeral. Sex was the first thing he wanted. It wasn’t until he’d finished that he asked me how I was feeling. I said I was fine, got up and walked to the bathroom. I turned on the shower so he wouldn’t hear me cry.

When I asked my mother what to do, she told me I should go back with him. After all, she had two more daughters to marry off, she said, and she didn’t have the money to support me. I couldn’t work. I had no education or experience. And I was pregnant. Resigned and defeated, I went back with him. While I’d been away, he’d moved back into his parents’ house. This time I got a small room in the basement, with bare walls and a little window in the corner. My daughter slept in her crib in the room next door. In June 2006, I gave birth to my second daughter. I was miserable.

And yet my father’s words had ignited something in me. I knew I was smart, and I knew the only way out was through school. I studied in my room every night, finishing the last course I needed for my General Education Development (GED), a Grade 13 economics credit. A few months after my younger daughter was born, I earned my diploma, and decided to apply to university again.

I knew my husband would never let me leave the house to earn money for tuition, so I resurrected my babysitting service, telling him I was earning money for the family. I co-opted my mother-in-law with the promise that she’d earn easy money taking care of kids, and my husband even let me buy a van to drive my charges around. I was making between $2,000 and $3,000 every month, and though I had to turn over my earnings to my husband, I managed to sock away a few hundred dollars here and there. It took me two years to save enough for one year of school.

In 2008, I applied to University of Toronto’s (UoT) economics program. I was accepted. Nothing was going to stop me from going.

“Who’s going to pay for your tuition?” my husband asked.

“I am,” I responded.

My in-laws were so angry about my decision that no one in the house spoke to me for six months. I didn’t care. This was my chance to get out. It had taken me nearly 10 years, but I’d gone from victim to survivor.

My first day of school in September 2008 was one of the best days of my life. I got to school 15 minutes before my class started and walked through the Kaneff Centre at UoT Mississauga. After everything I’d been through, I’d finally achieved my dream. I sat in the hall, tears running down my cheeks. If only my father could have seen this, I thought to myself.

I thrived in my new environment. I aced every class, and other students gravitated toward me, asking to study or socialise. My success changed my thinking. If I was the scum on the bottom of my husband’s shoe, like I’d been told all these years, why were my marks so high? Why did classmates want to be my friend? I could feel vestiges of confidence I hadn’t had in years.

One day in October I was walking to the campus bookstore to buy textbooks. Just around the corner, outside the health and counselling centre, a flyer on a bulletin board caught my eye. On it was a list of questions.

“Do you feel intimidated? Do you feel like you don’t have a voice? Do you feel like you’ve lost your identity?”

As my eyes ran quickly down the list, my brain screamed over and over again: yes, yes, yes.

“Come in and make an appointment,” the poster read.

I opened the door and walked inside.

A few days later, I sat across from a counsellor, describing what was going on at home.

“I don’t know what to do,” I told her. “I’m trying to keep my husband happy and I’m still not good enough. He keeps telling me I’m worthless. All I want to do is fix it.”

She grabbed my hand.

“It’s not your fault,” she said.

It was the first time anyone had said that to me. As I continued my counselling, I realised that what had happened to me was wrong. My agency had been stripped away. I learned about the cycle of abuse that characterises so many unhealthy relationships.

Our marriage was becoming more toxic every day. He once bought me a cell-phone as a present, but installed spyware on it so he could monitor my calls. He kicked me in the stomach. He kept threatening to kill me. A year after I started counselling, I told him I wanted a divorce.

“What are you talking about?” he asked me. “I love you. I can’t live without you.”

One January night in 2011, he picked a fight. I wasn’t doing enough housework, he said. As he loomed over me, tightening his fist, I picked up my phone.

“If you touch me, I’m going to call 911,” I shouted.

And then he spat out the word divorce, in Urdu, three times: talaq, talaq, talaq. According to some Islamic scholars, uttering those words means the marriage is over.

I thought I’d be thrilled when he left, but I was terrified. I’d never lived on my own, and I was bracing myself for the shame I believed I would bring to my family. He sold our house out from under me, leaving me and the kids with three weeks to pack up. We had nowhere to go. I even registered at a couple of shelters, expecting to be homeless.

One day, I was at the UoT tuition office, and a woman overheard me lamenting my situation. She suggested I look into campus housing; luckily, the university had one family unit left. Two days later, I had the keys to my very own shabby three-bedroom townhouse.

I couldn’t afford movers. I packed all my belongings into garbage bags and made 10 trips back and forth every day for five days, in the van I used to drive the kids who attended my home day care. I used my last $100 to pay a couple of students to help me move my furniture. I was relieved not to be out on the streets. I slept in one room with my youngest daughter. My eldest had the second bedroom, with enough space just for a single bed.

I rented out the third room to a Pakistani student who watched my girls while I worked in the evenings. It was tiny, but it was ours. That year, I juggled five jobs to stay afloat. I worked as a teaching assistant (TA), a researcher with the City of Mississauga and a student mentor. I did night shifts at the student information centre on campus. I even ran a small catering business out of my apartment.

One day it dawned on me that my husband was a man willing to put his own kids out on the street to teach me a lesson. I drove to the police station and reported everything. I gave a three hour long videotaped statement, offering as much detail as I could about the decade of abuse I’d endured. The officer said he likely wouldn’t be able to lay charges because there weren’t any bruises on my body. But it didn’t matter. Just telling the authorities was a huge relief. It was my way of acknowledging everything to myself, of finally saying, it wasn’t my fault—none of it was my fault.

The officers interviewed my doctor and counsellors, and two days later they arrested my husband for assault. He pleaded guilty. We finalised our divorce, and he got joint custody. My older daughter refused to see him, but my younger daughter visited him every other week.

There were many times over the next year that I thought I’d made a mistake, that I couldn’t do it on my own. I thought the shame would never go away. After my marriage ended, none of my old friends would speak to me. My mother refused to tell people back home. I had no family in Canada, no friends at school who knew what was going on. I was completely isolated.

I’d always been told that women are responsible for upholding the family’s honour. A woman living alone is a sin. A woman travelling alone is a sin. When everybody around you says you’re in the wrong, that your dreams aren’t valid, you start to believe that. And there were many times that I’d fall into those sinkholes.

Zafar graduated from the University of Toronto at the top of her class.

Education was my only refuge from my dark thoughts. I focused all my energy on school. In my fourth year, I was promoted to head TA. I worked as a senior mentor for the school’s first-year transition program. I carried an eight-course load and earned a 3.99 Grade Point Average (GPA).

One day, I got an email from my department advisor. In it was a description of the university’s highest honour, the John H Moss Scholarship, a $16,000 award that’s given to an outstanding student who intends to pursue graduate work—the Rhodes scholarship of UoT. My advisor encouraged me to apply. No one from UoT Mississauga campus had ever won it, she said. The deadline was only a few days away, but she convinced me to hustle up the paperwork.

A few weeks later, I got an email saying that I was one of five finalists. I arrived for my interview on February 6, 2013. The committee ran through questions about my academic record and leadership experience. I’d written about my abusive marriage in my application, too, and at the end of the interview, the panel asked me how I go on after everything I’ve been through. My polish wore off in that moment.

“Every day I feel like giving up,” I told them.“But I don’t want my daughters to grow up thinking that being abused is normal.”

Forty-five minutes after my interview concluded, I got a phone call. John Rothschild, chair of the selection committee and the CEO of Prime Restaurants, was on the other end of the line with a few other panellists.

“Congratulations,” they said. “You’re our winner this year.”

I couldn’t believe it. I grabbed my daughters’ hands and danced wildly around the house with them. I wanted to tell the whole world. Since then, John has become a friend, a mentor, and the closest thing I have to a father figure. He taught me how to believe in myself again. He says if I ever get married again, he wants to walk me down the aisle.

Businessman John Rothschild funded her non-profit organisation for abused women.

In September of that year, I started my master’s in economics. By the time I graduated, I was surviving off the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), and my debt load was piling up. I wanted to stop borrowing money as soon as possible, so I decided not to pursue a PhD. Instead, I accepted a job at the Royal Bank of Canada, where I work today as a commercial account manager.

Around the time of my graduation, I was named the top economics student at UoT. At the award ceremony, a journalist introduced herself to me (her daughter was in my class). I told her my story, and she published an article about it in a Pakistan newspaper.

As my story circulated through the community, I received hundreds of messages from women all over the world trapped in forced marriages and looking for help. So many of them sounded like me five years earlier, isolated and helpless. Women who show up at shelters or call assault hotlines or leave their homes find themselves completely alone. Without any help, they return to their abusers or fall into new relationships that are just as bad. Once, while I was TAing at UoT, a father barged into my office yelling.

“You’re pushing my daughter to get her master’s degree!”

I couldn’t believe it. To me, it was natural to offer encouragement—his daughter was the top student in my class.

“She’s supposed to marry a boy in Egypt. Stop poisoning her with your Canadian bullshit,” he barked.

Years ago, a woman wrote to me asking if we could talk on Skype. She was a Canadian university graduate whose parents forced her into a marriage in Pakistan after she finished school. Brutally abused for three years, she returned to Canada to have her baby. She wanted to leave her marriage. After we finished talking, I drove to her house and encouraged her to do it.

“No one will ever love me again,” she said.

Three years later, she graduated from a master’s program and got a job working full-time in Toronto. I realised I couldn’t stop abuse from happening. But I could offer friendship to women in similar positions to my own. I started a non-profit called Brave Beginnings that will help women rebuild their lives after escaping abusive relationships. John Rothschild, my mentor, provided our start-up funding, and we’re piloting the project this year.

Zafar lives with her two daughters, age 15 and 10, in a condo in Mississauga.

For the past three years, I’ve lived in a three-bedroom condo in Mississauga with my daughters, who are now 15 and 10. I serve as an alumni governor at the University of Toronto, and I speak about my experience for organisations like Amnesty International. I’m happier than I ever imagined I could be. I want women to know that they deserve a life of respect, dignity and freedom—that it’s never too late to speak up. It infuriates me that many women are expected to uphold their family’s honour, yet they don’t have any themselves.

Last April, I called my ex. I wanted to help him repair his relationship with our older daughter. It had been four years since we had spoken in person. I decided to meet with him. Despite everything, I believed that my girls deserved to have their father in their lives. I sat in a coffee shop at Eglinton and Creditview Road, desperately hoping that I was no longer scared of him.

I saw him walking across the parking lot, and waited for an avalanche of fear to hit me. It never came. Sitting across from me, he was just another person. To my surprise, he apologised.

“I cannot believe after everything that you’re still willing to help me repair my relationship with our kids,” he said.

That day in the coffee shop, I finally felt free.

A few weeks ago, I lay in bed cuddling with my youngest daughter. Every night, we snuggle for 10 minutes before she goes to bed, just the two of us, unpacking the day. Out of the blue, she said,

“Mom, I think Daddy’s family picked you because you were only 16. They thought you were just going to do whatever they told you to do and they’d be able to make you into whoever they wanted you to be.”

And then she paused,

“Man,” she said.“They picked the wrong girl.”

All photos: Luis Mora

This post originally appeared on Toronto Life here.

Samra Zafar

Samra Zafar

The author is a multiple award winning, top graduate of the University of Toronto, a Public Speaker on women's rights, a mother, and a social entrepreneur. Samra is a financial services professional and serves as a Governor for the University of Toronto. Follow her at: www.samrazafar.com and www.facebook.com/samrazafar001/. She tweets @iamsamrazafar (twitter.com/iamsamrazafar)

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

  • Naila Safder

    Extremely well written-Describes the story of several innocent girls who suffered a lot of hardships to finally see hope, some that I closely know of.Recommend

  • Muhammad Hussain

    God help those who help themselves. Thats the case with you. Your story is heart touching and encouraging for married women who face the same abuse as you had in your marriage. Some collapse and some get strong. And you are one who stood up, stayed positive and followed your dreams. You are an example for such women. Stay strong always !!Recommend

  • Gemini

    Didn’t knew Rothschild’s are involved in good things as well :PRecommend

  • A husband & A proud father

    WOW Samra Zafar – Standing ovation-Clap Clap Clap – Woman God bless you & thank you – Your an inspiration to all the women in the world who feel they are nothing – to feel they are slaves – to feel they have no rights no feelings . I will personally forward this story to all , i’ll try to reach as many as i can & so should you .
    THANK YOU for not giving up & giving in
    THANK YOU for HopeRecommend

  • Usman

    Such an overwhelming story there. This sounds familiar and what we can all relate to where girls are held hostages by the men they are tied to and where they are unable to set themselves free despite of having their parents around. You were lucky to be in Canada and to have braved yourself out of such humiliating relationship with two daughters and the passion for education sans moral and financial support. Wish nobody had to go through such ordeal and such men are taught a lesson of a lifetime for playing with someone’s life and emotions. Prayers for all the daughters, mothers and sisters who suffer this day in and day out.Recommend

  • ajay gupta

    do u know who is to blame? ur parents. If they failed to see your potential, how could anyone else. glad u moved on. all the bestRecommend

  • Malik Mansoor Haq

    Well Done Samra Zafar.
    you fought with the life for your rights.Recommend

  • Ramsha Kohati

    You’re an inspiration, woman! Stay blessed! <3Recommend

  • Maha

    i felt so happy reading it.. thats must have been so hard and tough to finally take a step out even though you knew the consequences would be worse. Your own people will leave you. Stay blessed.Recommend

  • Furqan

    And what you are today is because you were married at 16 and sent off to Canada. Think if you wouldn’t been married and sent off to Canada. You would have been spending your days in Pakistan being unknown. Give credit to your husband for giving you his name, being source of your Canadian nationality, all this exposure for you to be what you are. His hard work paid you off. His sacrifices made you what you are today. Be thankful to him.Recommend

  • NKAli

    I am glad this tragic odyssey is over. You are now independent and a human being in your own rights. Your parents thought the gleam of Canada was too much and got you married off to the wrong man. May Almighty God bless you and guide you. SalamsRecommend

  • MANSOOR ALAM

    Immensely impressed. I as a man find myself in Samra Zafar. I wish I could congratulate her on what she did and who she is.
    MANSOORRecommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi

    Kudos to you ma’am for being a perfect embodiment of resilience. God Speed!Recommend

  • rumi52

    Credit to her husband? During the time she was with him she did her wifely duties. Housework, cooking food and did her duty in the marital bed. But I suppose the fact that he bought money into the house only that counts, feeding him, washing his clothes doesn’t count. A Pakistani wife is cheaper than a housekeeper. If you read the article the author even at 16 wanted an education. She went through 10 years of hell to be where is now.
    You know in Israel the Arab citizens are discriminated against when it comes to housing, education investment and by the police. But the Israelis tell these Arabs to be grateful because their lives are much better than those in the neighboring Arab countries. The Israelis love to boast about this.Recommend

  • UzairH

    I call extreme bluff on your statement Furqan! Samra is obviously a very hard working and intelligent person, as was evidenced from her earliest school days. This marriage to a toxic man and his family ruined many good years of the author’s life. She would doubtless have gotten a good scholarship to any number of well-reputed universities around the world.

    This whole thinking of a woman requiring a man’s name is part of the problem in our culture, wherein women are seen more as property than as human beings.Recommend

  • UzairH

    Bravo Samra for overcoming the hostility and misogyny so prevalent in our culture. I am often ashamed of Pakistani culture where women are little more than sex objects and baby machines, to be kept behind chaddar and chaar diwari, beholden to their fathers or husbands and not given their own voice and will to pursue their dreams.

    I am also hesitant to say this out loud, but for those who can think rationally and without bias and dogmatic influence, there is a very clear common ideology across cultures that consider women as lower than men and not given the same independence. Whether the nationality is Pakistani or Egyptian or Bangladeshi or Arab, all have a common theme of suppressing women.Recommend

  • Shahnawaz Khan

    Well done….ladies like you make the human race proud….Your story brought tears to my eyes..but it is a phenomenal story …a story…of never say die attitude…show of true character amidst adversity and a story that acts as a source of motivation of millions of ladies suffering domestic abuse at distant locations from where nobody can feel their ordeals….its like a ray of light for all those ….May Allah give all of them strength and power like you….to overcome the traumas caused by their abusive marriages and tread a path similar to you….More power to youRecommend

  • Shahnawaz Khan

    Male Chauvinist here….pretty shambolic of you to be saying this about an abusive man…….Recommend

  • Waseem Syed

    As I was reading this article I had tears in my eyes. You have been through difficult journey.You are light for other girls. I am sure your father is watching you from above and smiling.Lots of Duas. Keep it up bayta!!Recommend

  • Nav

    Just because your parents following the old hindu customs traditions of giving up on you and selling as a cheap commodity doesn’t mean that you also should blame the entire society. Ur parents were greedy enough to send you abroad for $$. you should spk to them directly no need to made it public.Recommend

  • http://solomon2.blogspot.com/ Solomon2

    Ms. Zafar, thank you for sharing your story with us. Due to its elements of premature marriage, early childbirth, and family hardship I think it deserves a wider audience than Pakistani communities. Do you also speak at your local high schools? I’m sure the students could benefit.Recommend

  • Akira

    I had tears in my eyes as I was reading this.You are an inspiration to millions of South Asian women.I am from India,and I know of so many women in my family who have suffered years of abuse and were tied to a loveless marriage cause our society societal pressures.The only way for things to change for women is education,and we need to work harder to educate all our girls so that they have the courage and confidence to chose their happiness over abusive relationshipsRecommend

  • Mustafai

    Great life of great person in the way that you did not give up and never fell prey to discouragement. CongratulationsRecommend

  • Ali S

    This lady’s bravery is truly impressive and I’m not trying to undermine what she went through (any kind of physical abuse in a relationship is unacceptable no matter what the reason) but the financial role of husbands is overburdening in our culture and being treated like a money-minting machine can drive any man on edge. Why in God’s name was her husband paying off his parents’ and his own mortgage? And on top of it the culture of not allowing women to work only makes the situation worse.

    This lady’s journey has been extraordinarily difficult and it’s the story of a lot of single moms in Canada (who work their way from the bottom up while juggling a family), but what I’ve seen more commonly here among middle-class families in Pakistan is wives and in-laws who ruin decent husbands by treating them as personal ATMs.Recommend

  • Asif Butt

    “Man , they picked the wrong girl.”
    Dear Lady , in the end …. your daughter is the winner due to her comments :) !!!Recommend

  • Noble Intellect

    Good on you for standing up. However, your story has a flaw and people making comments are even more flawed……the point is that this is your version, Perhaps your husband should be given a chance to give his perspective and only then can you validate yours.

    Many a women fail their husbands in marriage, its never a one sided story. There is an old story about marriages…..”when women wag their tongue with mockery, men open their hands”. Domestic violence is the wide spread in western countries, so it has nothing to do with nationalities; its to do with the dynamic of man wife relationship. Having said that; In no way do I support or believe in violence against women or anyone else. Recommend

  • Ashar Zaidi

    How can we blindly believe in what that the author has to say without hearing her husbands side of the story? She might be entirely true in her words but its become more of a fashion these days to paint men as the ultimate oppressors….in the entire article she pleads herself to be oppressed….. sort of what we used to see in the 80’s Indian movies while her husband is shown of investing and dreaming new ways to torture her….common guys, atleast that man would have done some good worth mentioning all these years of marriage…again she might be entirely true with her words but for me this is a hard enough story to digest. Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    so inspiring. It boggles my mind that the ROOT of all this started off from another WOMAN.
    Only in Pakistan,a backward woman wants to pass on the backwardness to another woman, usually the daughter.

    Like, are Pakistani people blind? Before marrying off their daughter in a forced marriages which is a MAJOR sin on its own, they dont even properly check what kind of family it is that their marrying off their daughter?

    How is this being religious and pious??? This is pure backwardness and barbarianism. When will Pakistani women reject this backward thinking and start being progressive and modern??Its 2017 for gods sake but pakistani women are still far ahead in backwardness.

    Why are pakistanis such an abnormally backward and weak people? Your dad realises your marriage is abusive while he’s on his deathbed?? Why did he choose to ignore the signs before? Is it just to be dramatic? No civilised country would ever accept this.

    And why is Canadian government allowing such backward people like this abusive husband to immigrate into the country in the first place anyway?
    There needs to be stronger border checking for backward barbaric abusive extremist pakistani men no matter how smart or educated they seem from the outside.

    God so backward! I feel sorry for u girl but Im glad great country like Canada was able to transform your life and allowed you to become successful and achieve your goals. Now you are a strong woman living happily with her daughters. At the same time Im so shocked u never used the 911 line earlier on into the abuse. Why? Did u forget u were in canada and not a backward country like Pakistan where most women are subject to horrific abuse like honor killings and acid attacks?Recommend

  • me

    Wow I had tears in my eyes reading this. God bless you samraRecommend

  • Technivore Khan Jr.

    Overwhelmed Recommend

  • rao amjad ali

    The takeaways from this heart wrenching story are: (a) adult literacy is critically important because educated and/or informed parents have the wherewithal to make rational decisions (b) education is the key to self actualization and freedom, and (c) domestic violence, as the husband’s actions in this story clearly testify, pervades all classes, cultures and nationalities. Several of my female Canadian students of European descent had suffered traumatic circumstances as Ms. Zafar but she, indeed, is a great role model and a person of unusual resolve and moral courage!Recommend

  • Javeed Akhtar

    You are marvelous woman. I salute you. Recommend

  • KlingOn2K

    Better to live alone and impoverished than to live in an abusive environment. Very inspiring.Recommend

  • KlingOn2K

    Their foundation gives vast sums for charity. Their past reputation is hard to shake off though.Recommend

  • Salsabeel Khan

    As a woman that has suffered a similar marriage and deeply resonated with everything written in this article, I am extremely infuriated by your statement.
    Even if you meant it as a joke, it was a vile statement.
    How can you even think that it is okay to tell a woman that has been the victim of years of abuse that she should thank her husband for where she is now? He HELD her BACK all those years! She is a strong, successful woman and survived, but imagine where she could have been if he hadn’t held her back!
    It has taken me 6 years post divorce to get the courage to sit for my GED and apply for college. I was surprised with my GED results and have been surprised by the grades I’m getting in college, because my ex-husband destroyed my self esteem. Should I be thankful to him as well?Recommend

  • Arraik Cruor

    For me, marriage is one of the most saddest and darkest thing Pakistanis have in their culture. I am not against marriage but making life about getting married shouldn’t be forced in people. People should be able to choose. Many parents do let their children choose but it is not as common.

    That is all my parents talk about when discussing my life after Uni. “When you finish University, you will get married.” Well, what if I don’t want to? What if am not a ‘normal’ person?

    However, I am a male. I cannot imagine how women feel stuck in this dreaded part of the Pakistani culture. Especially when married of at young age with all her mother thinking about how getting married is literally all that mattered for her daughter. What an amazing article to read. Such courage and bravery. I live in Australia and I find that at Universities here have so many options for help available. So I smiled when she was talking about a poster for counseling. I am so happy Canada gave her this opportunity.

    This honour culture is very burdensome on women and very unfair. Breaking through that through knowing that the societies attributes to your gender is crazy. Gain confidence and know you are a human being that is more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

    “Man,” she said.“They picked the wrong girl.”

    Damn straight they did. :)Recommend

  • Arraik Cruor

    There are problems in other countries too to do with women and domestic violence, education, mariage etc. However, I find that the West is better place to be if you were to suffer through that because it is actually talked about there and there is so much help they provide. For example, Australia, they even advertise about domestic violence and seeking help. At Universities they have great counseling systems. They have centres and resources dedicated to these types of things and there is no honour rubbish and stigma for a women to be not married or is able to do what she chooses to. No pressure of marriage and independence isn’t something that is disencouraged but respected.

    There certainly is a common ideology across cultures in those particular countries. Empowerment of women is the way to fight this disease.Recommend

  • Arraik Cruor

    She birthed his children, she was abused mentally and physically. He had to provide for the family because that what everyone should do. It is not heroic, it is a given and nothing to be given credit too. She became an independent women because she made herself despite her abusive husbands and in laws trampling all over her. She worked way hard than him. Not to mention she made some money at one point that her husband took most of. They denied her education and a life. There is nothing to thank him about.Recommend

  • Hammad Shariq

    are u crazy ? do you even realize what you are saying ?Recommend

  • rationalist

    Where did the parents get the idea to get a teenager married off? Blame the culture that treats their women as objects and property to be controlled.Recommend

  • Farooq Khan

    A real woman with exceptional courage and character, God bless you and your daughters. Your ex husband was a disgraceful character.Recommend

  • Salsabeel Khan

    There are men in this world that do treat their wives like animals. Her story sounds over the top to you, but not to women with similar stories. Having lived in a very similar marriage for 14 years, I believe her.
    As for the husband’s side- do you think a man is justified to not speak to his wife for days or to physically abuse her just because dinner was not ready on time? If you think that is equal, there is no hope.Recommend

  • Umair Nathani

    You are such a brave women Samra Zafar and what makes your story more powerful is the fact that you thought very rationally for every move.

    Women empowerment is change the you have brought, comparing our parents and how we will bring up our daughters.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Is domestic violence legal in Canada?Recommend

  • vinsin

    Is Domestic violence legal in western countries?Recommend

  • vinsin

    That no such Hindu customs or traditions.Recommend

  • vinsin

    You are lucky that you didnt get marry at the age of 6 to a 50+ man.Recommend

  • Ali Kazmi

    Where did you get that she was ‘sold’ from? She never once mentioned anything remotely like that anywhere in the entire article. Were you saying it for the sake of saying it?

    Also, this is something that effects millions of girls in our SOCIETY and is not something specific to this particular relationship. One of the primary causes is the age difference between the couple making it easier for the older person (almost always the husband) to try and control the younger person. Another problem is our society’s insistence that post marriage there should be kids within a year or two making it impossible for the couple to get to know each other. Another problem with our society is the guy’s family getting a say in the affairs of the married couple. The article highlights all these issues with our SOCIETY so awareness about these issues should be raised as much as possible because clearly, talking about them behind closed doors does nothing.Recommend

  • Ali Kazmi

    Keep your head in the sand and keep yelling ‘Aaaal is well’ at the top of your lungs Recommend

  • Ali Kazmi

    You mad bro?Recommend

  • Ahmed Zahid

    She showed courage and got out of it. But unfortunately if it was not some western country like Canada and instead it was any Arab or Muslim country, she’d have remained trapped. Be it the place where she lived before marriage (UAE) or where from she was from (Pakistan) . Why? Because in a Muslim society, a wife must obey husband. Recommend

  • Feroz

    Very bold and cogent piece of writing. May it give hope and courage to many other women stuck in similar situations. God Bless !Recommend

  • Hassan

    better to stay on the topic, i know where exactly u r coming from although for all the wrong reason u have just got the wrong info else we too know how many wives ur so called lords kept and what kind of relationship they hadRecommend

  • Mehreen Chandan

    Dear Samra Zafar,

    You are my hero, may you always stand tall and strong like a beacon of light for other Pakistani women.

    Lots of love,

    Mehreen ChandanRecommend

  • Zahid Ahmed Alvi

    I mostly don’t read complete article. This story made me read twice. Came to conclusion that my pains are very smaller and you have great patience. Enjoy freedom and help others. Best of LuckRecommend

  • Waqas

    Story is good, no doubt ,but why we all forget Pakistan”s image just to get attention ,for sack for few compliments, this fabricated story give what image about Pakistani culture and people living here. sorry to say all Pakistanis are not like this even not more than 1%. no doubt underage marriages are still major concern in our culture but are decreasing day by day as people getting awareness. sorry for the editor who publish this story bypassing Pakistan”s imageRecommend

  • Zahid

    I feel lucky to read your story Ms. Samra. Though there were lots of sad moments where my tears were about to spring out BUT the way you kept things going placed a big hope while I was going through your story. I am very proud of you and wish you all the best ahead.
    Thank you for writing it and I am sure many people including myself will get great lessons from this.
    Much Respect and Love!Recommend

  • Pakistani Girl “SairaShah” Cha

    Allah… My Aunt also suffered from this situation in Canada Quebec … But they don’t have any such a age gap.. but still things goes wrong now somewhere…. Domestic violence should be spoke out… Women frim any where.. Pakistani or English etc.. theyare same… Hats to Samra Zafar.. you young lady Lots of love… Tears in my eyes… I don’t want this kind of abusive life… Allah bles youRecommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    it has to do with being a pakistani. please read my comment. Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    why do Pakistanis use the word ” maam” like its a word to show respect. just call people by their first names.Recommend

  • rao amjad ali

    No, it is not! In fact, there is zero tolerance policy with respect to domestic violence. That said, a large number of victims do not report incidents of husband or wife abuse (especially new arrivals most of whom settle within their own communities) either because of cultural reasons or lack of information.Recommend

  • guest

    Wow what an inspirational story, brought tears while reading, but felt so proud of your commitment and srength towards your goals and the future of your daughters. This is what #WomanEmpowerment!Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    And what you are today is because you were married at 16 and sent off to Canada.

    Imagine for a minute if the lady had not gone through this odeal and had continued with her education first instead of getting married to a migrant of a developing country, she would have choosen a partner of her choice and her equal and her timing. Would you prefer the kind of journey that Miss Samra Zafar took in innocence and under the influence of her parents. If so then good luck.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • rumi52

    In principle I agree with you, there are always two sides to every story. However firstly all comments are based on this article on the assumption that she is telling the truth. You say this is a hard story for you to digest? I live in the U.K. and every year there is always a story of some girl from Pakistan (& India) who marry her to a British Pakistani man because they think she will have a better life. The poor girl comes here, has no relatives and she is treated like a slave by her in-laws. One day somehow the girl gets in touch with the government authorities and they help her. Then she can tell her story and we read about in the papers. You will not believe what men are capable of. But lets be honest its not just men, its women also, the mother-in-laws and sister in laws in these situations are also women. Please please lets not turn this into a men vs women story. By the way there are many Pakistani brides who come here and mashAllah live very happy lives. By the way your comment reminds me of Pervez Musharaf’s statement years ago that some Pakistani women cry rape just to get international attention and get a visa to the west.Recommend

  • Kasturi K

    Not only in Australia but the West also has the same system. All you need is the courage to dial and call for help. I wish the same genuine help could be avaible in Pakistan also.Recommend

  • Abrar Ahmad

    After having read comments , I am of the views:-
    In Pakistan much more is happening , and no action taken.
    Ms samrazafar Lucky one got settled in Canada and gotten rid of Pakistani cultured men.
    Marriage at 17 and above ok.
    Many girls unfortunately miss out marriage with a hope for better choice in waiting.
    We must educate our girls well , to mature them in thinking and for better expression/ communication.
    A Better and good Educational Institution ie School Culture playes a great role in grooming the students.
    It’s all her early good grooming that saved her from the agony of Pak culture Married Life.
    Alas !!! We Males in Pakistan realize How to handle this Beautiful creature WOMEN.
    Still a humble advice early marriage is always good. The mistake is of poor Pakistani Culture (male dominant), poor Mentoring to the SON by AMI Jan.
    Just think the agony of Pakistan couples surviving inside Pakistan. Hats off to Rich and developed Countries,they care, listen and regard the talents.
    One thing ! how the time passes, Ms samrazafar you were teen , and now your daughter is in teens.

    For instance , just think you were off – Loaded (sent off)from PARENTS worries. Still your father was always on your side , with kidney failed.
    Today you an examplary mother, mentor to the CHILDREN. So still pay tribute to Almighty Allah for being safe and a complete mother. He your Husband had the worst punishment , he could never think off. Alas he could have been councilled well by some one sincere to both of you !!!
    Best of Luck.

    Recommend

  • Ashar Zaidi

    Why should I Kazmi sb? just because my views are different from what u believe or what u want to believe, Means that you try to put me down, Besides I never aid she is laying or entirely fabricating, I just said it would have been worth while to listen to her husbands point of view…now whats wrong in that?Recommend

  • Ashar Zaidi

    If I buy ur argument, I have seen scores of women treat their husbands badly, trust me there are many and I am sure you know a few to, I am not saying take and eye for an eye, my point is that the way this author has described the ordeal, and besides any proof dosent make this article a solid reading….She said her husband took extra care of her in the first 7 months or pregnancy and then turn violent in the last 2, who in the world would act like that, specially when he is abut to become a father? sorry for me its difficult to digest all this..Recommend

  • Ashar Zaidi

    Lets face it, bashing men these days is a popular hobby and a hot selling cake, no wonder Dawn and ET regularly pop up such articles….if men are so bad stop marring us bhai.Recommend

  • Taskin

    Yeah it is hard enough story for you to digest not because the writer is telling her story BUT because her actions go against what is the norm in such cultures: Love and obey your husband no matter what, because somehow you owe him something. It didn’t become a fashion to paint men, I am sorry, men are getting called out and now people like you are irritated by all the coverage such kind of abuse is getting. Recommend

  • rationalist

    Why be defensive?Recommend

  • El Cid

    A fabricated story!Recommend

  • Rationality

    Abuse is a cycle – it seems that her in-laws participated in it, too. Odds are good that he wasn’t treated well by them as their child to begin with.Recommend

  • Mohsin

    Pakistan’s “image” is not more important than the truth of our society. By all means go forth and share pictures of the mountains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or some other “folk” elements and pretend we are great, but don’t criticize others for sharing their stories which are more real and more substantive than this middle class obsession with Pakistan’s “image”. A life was shattered here. Learn to empathize rather than questioning people’s hardships.Recommend

  • SayAsIs

    Be ashamed of yourself for telling the victim to be grateful to the oppressor.Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    why are pakistani women so backward and primitive?Recommend

  • Amer

    Is “Pakistan’s image” some artificial being that needs a good character certificate ? Pakistan’s image is not more important than Pakistan lives.Recommend

  • Razzy

    Problem is, most Muslims in South Asia keep their age old Hindu and regional traditions very very close.

    As per most Hindu traditions, a daughter is considered a terrible burden to be unloaded. No wonder some of the most staunchest “traditional” states like Haryana/Gujarat/rajasthan have some of the worst sex ratios in India. As a matter of fact, Muslims have a better sex ratio despite living in relative poverty where child killing is otherwise rampant. Infact much of the most terrible aspects of domestic life like forcing dowry, forcing the daughter to share the house with the man’s parents and cooking and cleaning for them is directly related to Hinduism’s age old traditions. Islam allows the girl to ask for a separate house as a matter of right not to mention she has the right to say no to serving the man’s parents. This is unfortunately not followed by most South Asian muslims due to ingrained behavior from the Hindu pastRecommend

  • http://nazarbaaz.blogspot.com/ 2#

    I dont think your husband was a bad guy, instead its the same old story, get married, go to UK, get citizenship and divorce and then …. you exactly followed that path, no wonder. He moved from two bedroom to four bedroom and then got another house for you and you say he was a bad guy… seriously?Recommend

  • Razzy

    Unless the South Asian Muslims shed their age old inspired traditions like considering daughters as a burden and forcing the daughters in servitude to the man’s parents this will only get worse. Islam accords a woman the right to a separate kitchen and not be a servant to the man or his parents (whose primary responsibility rests on the man not his wife).

    Dowry deaths are dime a dozen and no matter how “educated” the man may be, he thinks of dowry as a right!! go figure!! Dowry is also a practice which we must shun at the earliestRecommend

  • http://nazarbaaz.blogspot.com/ 2#

    you are right and what she did is known as commercial writing, creating mountain out of a mole and something out of nothing, I wonder what has she got as per the nikah certificate, some land, home or money or what? she didnt mention any of such things which are common in the name of security of girls in our areas.Recommend

  • MatherGotta

    Razzy, Just one time’ TRY TO BE A MAN ‘. You talk about Hindu traditions, atleast Hindu treat people like humans. There way is ‘better & allways right’ mentality than other.

    http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/31969/dr-abdus-salam-and-all-the-wrong-choices-pakistan-made/

    Lets talk about ur great islamic condition, North of UP Kairana in india now have highest ranning away from there home since GREAT ISLAM ‘following people’ r killing them, beating them & only way to survive by those islamic fanatic is leaving ur place.My aunt and uncle from Kairana have to sell there home of 30 to 35 lack to mere 8 lakh rupees ( loss of more then 25 lakh )because people having mentality like u (sorry The great, islamic, true pure bloodline like u, tell me if i leave something SIR since i have a very staunchest Hindu past)

    Even servent from west bengal say she can’t do durga puja in her village (Biggest/oldest fastival of bengal more than 5500 year ) because muslim community don’t believe in idol worship & they say if anyone try to do they kill them/loot them/rape there girls i.e so SUPREME COURT OF INDIA have to interfere in this matter & “have to give permission” to hindus people & assure them that nothing happen to them if they do idol puja.

    Remember malala , small town girl.
    http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/32512/20-falsehoods-mirza-kashif-ali-and-dr-danish-shamefully-propagated-against-malala/

    Even when I am living in allahabad In neighbouring area (i live in GTB Nagar ,kareli) Hindu community have to pretend like muslim (in dress) espacily kids since in 1990 to 1995 time kidnapper only kidnap hindus kids (When police catch one of the member he say its there fault, they are dirty hindu who don’t accept ISLAM so it is LIKE ALLWAYS Hindus people fault).

    So Mr Razzy, according to you “like always” It is Hindu people fault but i want to asked u, a very simple Question~ HOW IS THIS STORY IS RELATED TO HINDU TRADITION & PEOPLE & WHO GIVE U RIGHT TO SAY THIS THINGS

    https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/ /pls refer this. also/

    Acc. to pakistani Writer(part of pakistan census data in 1998) Dr Ahmad Khan: More than 96% of muslim pakistanis have Hindu ancesters (mejority force conversion) & out of rest of population 99% of them unwanted children of invaders.

    So again a very simple Question to you~ Which Bloodline r you because after reading ur comment my soul is burning from anger.Recommend

  • Akmal

    Hats off to you Ma’am. You are truly an inspiration, i salute you for your achievements and for raising up your voice against abusive and humiliating relationship. The basic fundamental is education, everyone should know about their rights and freedom. Unfortunately due to illiteracy and backward thinking people in Pakistan force their daughters to get married early, which is totally not acceptable. The thinking should be changed, mothers looking for younger or i must teenager bahu is insane. 28 years old man and 16 years old girl, big age difference, i must say its a generation gap. First of all no compromise on respect, no matter what issues are going on between husband and wife, they should give respect to each other and should solve their problems mutually rather harassing, beating etc.
    We as a new generation should groom and give sense to older people, should aware them about the drawbacks of forced marriages and young marriages. This menace of suppressing women in our society should be cured by educating people.
    Everyone should be considered and treated equally.Recommend

  • Waseem Anjum

    Brave and intelligent lady but chose easy path of getting divorced and letting girls live without complete family.Still an inspiring life.Recommend

  • Razzy

    Ashar Bhai tell me why are we still following age old customs derived from our distant past that ask us to treat our wives to the yoke of servitude (to our parents)? Don’t you think it is un-islamic of us to do so? OR is Islam only convenient when used as a tool to intimidate people who are different in opinion, even if they are other Muslims?

    You know a woman can actually ask for a wet nurse if she wants. She need not serve our parents or our brothers. You know the prophet SAW washed and cleaned for his wives.

    Yet most of our Muslim men are avowedly “traditional” in our domestic life while shouting “Islam Islam” at the top of our lungs

    Stop these useless carryovers from our (very very distant) past including the Dowry system. Remove it from our minds that our wife is not here to serve our parents in completion (if she does it out of her free will then good otherwise not). You know it is sunnah to feed your wife with your hands? Have we ever thought about these sunnah or does our sunnah stop at the beard?Recommend

  • Ahmar

    My comment was not published. Typical Tribune Feminist censorship.Recommend

  • fze

    Not being defensive but giving sane advise. Study your own religious (Hinduism) stories to find out how many wives and husbands who had and at what age.Recommend

  • Sane

    Very brave lady. Women should not accept abuse as part of their married life. They must stand up.Recommend

  • Sane

    You Indians always talk nonsense. You start drifting the topic towards hate and nothing else. ET: you must not publish such nonsense comments.Recommend

  • Sane

    These Indian trolls will never mend their ways and mindset. They always spoil the discussion.Recommend

  • Sane

    I can give thousands of stories as how Hindus treat their wives and how women in Indian society are abused life long. But this is not the topic here. Do not need any reply from you./Recommend

  • Sane

    Have some milk and sleep. This topic needs parental guidance (PG).Recommend

  • Sane

    You are a bright mind. What an idea clicked you in context to this subject. Great.Recommend

  • Furqan

    LOL. He had to provide because he had to. What a joke. With this logic, she had to birth his children, she had to.

    I am sure, he was mentally tortured cause of her as well. Its just you dont know his side of the story. He didnt come in public and disclosed his side cause he must have respected the relation and didnt want to spill some dirt on her. Making judgement on one side of the story, not cool dude not cool.

    She became an independent women cause he provided her the opportunity of being independent. They very basics for her independence is her Canadian nationality, her exposure at that mass level. All this is due to his husband, very platform she standing on his due to him and only him. She is a coward for turning back at him. One should never ever forget the base.Recommend

  • Furqan

    As a man, this hurts me most, that why is the man always to be blamed. I have my sympathy with you for your divorce but i have same sympathy with your ex-husband. He went through the same divorce as you. He felt the same pain as yours and probably more. and yet here you are trying to put a blame for your failure/low self esteem on him.

    He is a bad human being for you, trust me, for him you are a bad human being too. Why should I judge him for what only you saying. What sane argument can there be to say that i should judge him on the basis of what you say.Recommend

  • Furqan

    LOL.. be ashamed of telling me to judge one person without listening and knowing the other side of the story. What a shame!Recommend

  • Furqan

    No mad will be the one who judges the other party without knowing the other side of the story.Recommend

  • Furqan

    a reasonable man you may say.Recommend

  • Furqan

    There are women in this world that treat their husbands and in laws like animals. You must have seen that video on social media where an indian bahu is beating her bed ridden mother in law.Recommend

  • Furqan

    Keep judging ppl after knowing one sided story and keep yelling “aaaal is well”.Recommend