Stories about domestic abuse

Do you have a Sarah in your house?

Whenever I see her, her eyes haunt me. The sadness in them is unspeakable and the horrors of her life, incomprehensible. She is young and beautiful yet her heart yearns for a minute of peace and happiness. She is Sarah*, a married girl who lives with her in-laws. Sarah married into a family of four sisters where her husband was the only son. The torture began almost immediately. Her three unmarried sisters-in-law cannot stand the very sight of her. They never speak a kind word to her, and always address her with stern and blank expressions on their faces. The very faces that smile ...

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Red

This piece is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The air smelled of rich extravagance as her heart pounded in her chest and banged away like a hammer. Her eyes, heavy with kajal, glanced sideways as the butler came towards her to escort her upstairs. She smiled, stood up, hoping nobody would notice her trembling fingers, and walked upstairs. Unconsciously, her fingers rose to her lips and she started biting her finger nails to calm her nerves. The butler was moving ahead of her and she had to take long strides to keep up with him, while her ...

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Common sense, not so common in Pakistan: 12-month-old baby told to appear in court, what’s next?

Pakistan would make developmental psychologists all over the world proud. Asian children (namely those from Hong Kong, Singapore and Shangai) seem to be smarter to the world. But children in our part of the world (vis-à-vis the subcontinent) are not far behind. Our kids are more social and streetwise, owing to the joint family systems prevalent in a collectivist society such as ours. Our skins are thicker and our minds are sharper. But our police seem to have gone one step ahead of us in this analysis, unfortunately. Sure our kids are smart, but criminally smart? Apparently, our law enforcement authorities think so. A few ...

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Women are responsible for domestic abuse, not men

It’s an age old story that women are the main victims of abuse. Over the years, many NGOs, awareness projects and feminists have forced laws to be passed against female victimisation. We have all blamed men for abuse, who are seemingly the dominant sex and similarly, many steps have been taken to make women realise that it is the men who are at fault. So, why then are women still subjected to abuse, even though they are aware of their rights and are more liberated than before? Why are they not raising their voice against domestic abuse? And also, are men really the main cause of abuse? These questions ...

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6 do’s and don’ts for Pakistani husbands

It isn’t often I feel the urge to write a long winded response to a fellow blogger’s work; however, this is one of those instances. Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I mean no disrespect to the author of “13 ‘Do-Nots’ housewives can wave goodbye to in 2014” and “14 ‘Dos’ for die-hard housewives in 2014“, nor do I intend any insult. I would simply like to share my two cents. While I feel the topic on marriage has been ‘done to death’, after reading two consecutive articles centered on what a wife should and shouldn’t do, ...

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Kankar: Was Kiran right or wrong in divorcing her husband?

The first slap is the worst – red, hot searing pain across the face. But what sears through is more than a slap. Something breaks inside. A feeling of helplessness, vulnerability and a shattered sense of self-worth takes over which is why, a woman’s first reflex reaction is always disbelief; shock. It is an instant realisation of the painful reality that she will never forget that moment. That she will never be able to unlearn this blow. Sanam Baloch depicted a battered woman’s experience beautifully in the recent Hum TV serial Kankar which ended on December 6, 2013. The serial, with its protagonist ‘Kiran’ ...

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Far from reality: Kankar and its depiction of divorced women

When I started watching Kankar, I was happy that there was finally a Pakistani play that depicted a strong independent woman who was not willing to bend down to the whims and fancies of our patriarchal society. The central character of this Pakistani prime time serial is a brave woman named Kiran standing up to her so called “Mijaazi Khuda” (husband) to fight for her rights. Instead of the usual victimised daughters-in-law, the character is one that many women will be able to relate to and perhaps find hope or salvation in, knowing that it is alright to stand up against domestic ...

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Accepting domestic abuse as a part of daily life

As a Pakistani woman, I grew up understanding that the best guarantee of my life-long security is the promise of a man’s companionship. A man will back me financially, ward off awkward questions that will arise if I remain single too long and give me a ‘home’ to care for. A man will chaperone me to family gatherings, tell me how best to behave and transform me into ‘a complete woman’.  While this formula for security infuriated me on several levels, it is the things it left unsaid that horrified me the most. No one told me just how badly a ...

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And then they were free

There was blood everywhere. The ringing in the ears. The throbbing pain in his gut from being punched. The mini blackouts that wouldn’t stop. The screams he would hear intermittently. The mad blinding rage he felt turning cold. Shahab was doubled over at the table. The otherwise blue-coloured glass that sat on it was shaking. No. The glass wasn’t shaking. Shahab looked up. Rasheedullah was shaking it. Rasheedullah was in a mad rage. Rasheedullah’s eyes were bloodshot. His mouth was wet. His teeth were bared. He was a human bloodhound with a long serrated knife in one hand and a battered brown slipper in the ...

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

I got married at a very young age. I was 17- years-old and had not even finished high school yet. I was married to a man who was 31 years old at the time, an MBA graduate from a university in the US. He belonged to an elite and very well to do family from Karachi and was also the only son. Marriage to me was all about jewellery, fun, laugh and play, but it didn’t take long for me to realise that although it was a new relationship it was definitely a very strange one. In the third month of ...

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