I write my story in the hope that it sends out a message across all Asian communities that daughter in-laws should be treated with the utmost love and respect. Where this may not be the case, and women suffer in silence I hope my story gives you the strength to take a stand.
I am an educated British born Bangladeshi Muslim who was married in London at the age of 26 to my partner who also came from a similar background in terms of culture, religion and educational background.
I was married for nine months whereby I lived with in-laws. In the first few months I was treated like a princess, but in the third month everything changed.
I found out my husband had lied about his finances and had been in debt for the past ten years. My mother in-law then demanded I give my monthly salary to her when she had heard that I secured a position within the Law Society in London. Money was taken from me left, right and centre by my husband and in-laws. I was starved and had a strict timetable of when I was allowed to eat in case I became too fat.
My mother in-law restricted me from going out with friends, family, and even stopped me from spending time with my husband whether that be at home or outside. I was living in a prison whereby my phone calls and messages were checked every day and I had no privacy whatsoever. I would often try to call my mother secretly whereby I was threatened with divorce if I succeeded.
My husband was a 32 year old man who would often scream and cry like a baby at night and would make up stories to his mother who would then shout, swear and humiliate me in-front of an audience. I realised my husband wasn’t stable and in order to conceal this they had rushed me into a marriage and a lavish wedding. I became anorexic and was bullied by my husband, and his mother day in day out for nine months and constantly blamed myself.
I was forced to work as a slave at home and restricted from speaking to family friends in case I confided in them. I was ready to die.
I booked a holiday for my husband and I for our anniversary in the hope it would help us reconcile. When my mother in law found out she forced me to cancel the holiday, the deposit I put down was lost and my husband claimed I forced him to go on holiday with me. I realised my husband was so scared of his mother that he had raised in a strict surrounded whereby his mothers needs were his number one priority. I told my husband that its best we move out. On that night my mother in-law and his parents forced me into their car at 2am and drove me to Birmingham and abandoned me at my dads doorstep.
Three month’s of no contact and my husband divorced me over text. They kept all my personal belongings, including all my valuables. My father initiated a harassment claim against my husband and in laws for mental abuse which was backed up with medical evidence.
I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and signed off work for over nine months. The claim has been successful after a very long battle of two years, my case will go to trial in six months. The time has arrived for me to voice the pain they subjected me too but this has come at the cost of months of battling between my emotions and my morals. I have tried to walk away from my harassment case several times as it brings back very painful memories.
But I want this to be an opportunity for all of you who suffer in silence, you will be heard and you have the right to walk away. Abuse is not just physical abuse but also mental abuse where in this day and age many of us compromise on our sanity. Don’t make the mistake I did. Let my story be the courage you need to start a life you truly deserve.