Stories about in-laws

#TherapistDiaries: Do you think you’re in an abusive marriage?

Her family thought that “she liked being abused by her spouse”. In fact, those were the actual words of her own mother. Her friends and co-workers thought the same. She kept on going back to the husband who embarrassed her in front of people over her appearance and body weight. She kept going back to the husband who used to beat her black and blue, and she had to go to work with bruises on her face. Eventually, he made her leave her job too and the abuse stopped for a while, only to trigger the worst physical and sexual abuse phase ...

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“Mera jism, khandaan ki marzi”

It was a particularly tiring emergency day in the obstetric labour room. I was writing down patient notes on a file when a woman came pleading to me, “Doctor sahibaa, mehrbani karain, mainay jo sign kiyay hain wo kaat dain, hum nay waqfay ka chalaa nae rikhwana.” (Please doctor, nullify the signatures I just did on the file, we refuse to take intrauterine device for contraception.) IUCD (commonly known as Cu-T) is a small contraception device placed in a woman’s uterus to delay the next pregnancy and ensure better health opportunities for both the mother and the child. When I tried to ...

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Suno Chanda makes the choice for women yet again – marriage trumps education and career

Pakistan’s drama industry has recently been making eye-opening TV shows. We get to see many societal flaws and are made aware of issues people face in their everyday lives. But then there are light-hearted shows as well, made for the purpose of entertaining the audience. One such show is the recently popular Suno Chanda. The adorable couple Arsal (Farhan Saeed) and Ajiya (Iqra Aziz) finally tied the knot in the last episode of this Ramazan special series. The story begins with a betrothed couple’s desire to call off their wedding while the whole family is preparing for it. Arsal and ...

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“Apna ghar khud sambhalo” – When parents throw their married daughters under the bus

Recently, a discussion was going on at a relative’s house amongst some aunties and uncles regarding parents’ support to their daughters after marriage, and its consequences. Unsurprisingly, most of them were of the view that a girl can never become a successful homemaker if her parents keep backing her after her marriage. They were of the view that parents should never assist their daughter after getting her hitched. No matter what the circumstances she goes through, they should push her to compromise as if she has no other option left. Some of the ladies were proudly narrating such instances from ...

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Is the state of parental leaves in Pakistan more unfair towards men or women?

Switch on your TV. Pick up your newspaper. How are they selling you what they are selling you? Your favourite tea? Presented to you with the loving hands of your doting wife. Oil? Helps fry the food your wife will make for you when you come home from dinner. What about investing in property? Pretty wife, handsome husband, almost fully grown kids walk into what seems to be a manor – but of course, it’s so affordable! Oh, look. Your favourite drama is on. It’s all about weddings again. And the problems associated with rishtas and more weddings. Ah, the ads are back. What a ...

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It’s not easy being a female divorcee, especially in Pakistan

I happened to have an incredibly appalling conversation with a male friend the other day. It pretty much went like this; “Hey did you end up finding a girl for yourself?” “Yeah, I did, but I ended up rejecting the proposal. She was divorced and seemed quite sharp.” But, to my surprise, his response didn’t really shock me. Even so, his comments still ring in my head. I was amazed at how an educated and sensible man like him could pass such a judgement. Unfortunately, we’ve been moulded to think divorced women are off limits. They just don’t stand a chance in the ‘marriage market’ ...

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How to break a girl in 10 steps

Follow these 10 steps and watch a girl shrivel in front of your eyes until she becomes a walking womb that also makes your meals. 1) Make her realise she is a burden from the moment she is born. Sigh loudly when births of girls are announced. When they are a little older, let them see how you celebrate when boys are born and how the grandmother’s face contorts if the family is burdened with another baby girl instead. Make it absolutely clear that they are no cause for celebration. 2) Be very blatant in your favouring of boys over girls. Ask ...

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I was never his wife, I was only his slave

“I maybe from a  third world country but I have a heart like you do, emotions like you have, and dreams to pursue. On my first Eid as a married girl, I wanted to dress up and celebrate my new beginning instead of being in a hospital bed recovering from the effects of abuse.” I got married in March 2014 in Chicago with dreams of starting a new life and a future built out on love and trust in my new home. My parents were so assured that they were giving me into the hands of an educated guy; someone who ...

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The sin of being a widow in this world

We live in a country where, when a journalist calls the Chief Minister House and asks if they have any special events for International Widows’ Day, the reply you get from the concerned person is, “Widows’ Day? Is there one?” But then, considering two things, Pakistan might not be the only country. Firstly, it was just four years ago that the United Nations General Assembly declared June 23, 2011, as the first-ever International Widows’ Day, so it is a relatively new event. Secondly, the women being celebrated are on the lowest tier of the social pyramid, and their problems are not given the ...

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What if she didn’t want to be a ‘chaand si bahu’?

Her parents have told her to get ready. A family is about to visit their home to ‘see’ their daughter. The parents are all set to welcome the guests; the prospective in-laws of the girl. The guests leave on a positive note, telling the host family that they ‘liked’ the girl and will be visiting again along with other family members. This is exactly the sort of comments any daughter’s parents would want to hear from those special guests. However, the happiness remains for a short term only as the parents are later informed that they were looking for a ...

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