My husband became a control freak after we got married. He refused to let me see my family and threatened to divorce me if I did. Stupidly, I went along with not seeing them; initially thinking he just wanted me to prove my loyalty towards him.
We had a massive argument in Pakistan. He hurt me at the time, but I convinced myself that it was an accident. After 3 days of no food and water, I left his family home and travelled back to England alone! We had effectively split up, but when I got back here, I discovered I was pregnant. He came back to England (because I was pregnant) and we tried to give it another go.
By this time I hated him. He was full of horrible insults and put downs all the time. These were not just towards me, but my family and my late father too. I was not one to shut up; I would always retaliate to his arguments. That’s when the violence escalated. He knew I was pregnant but thought nothing of pushing, shoving or slapping me. The first time it happened I called his family (I dared not tell my brothers). This was the most shocking part. Knowing I was pregnant, they said they fully supported him and that they wouldn’t even talk to him about it. Their loyalties were with him.
His father used to beat his mother, but I always thought that the family had evolved. I thought that his mother, of all people, would understand. Boy was I wrong! I stayed in the house for 2 days after that. I was not one to be easily scared, thus we continued to argue – and one day, after a big argument, he went for me and began to strangle me. I honestly thought he was going to kill me. I managed to kick him in a very delicate place and get free. I ran to our bedroom, locked the door and called the police.
He was not charged with anything, as I’d defended myself and he also had scratch wounds on him. The police officer told me if I wanted him charged they would charge me too and then the court would decide what really happened. Not wanting to go through the process of being charged while being 7 weeks pregnant, I decided to cut my losses and come home. I went through my pregnancy alone and he has never seen his son.
It’s not how it should have been, but it’s the best thing for us. I needed to break the cycle of violence and I didn’t want my son to grow up thinking it’s OK to attack women. 5 years on, I have a gorgeous son! He is a happy, healthy child, who really doesn’t feel like he has lost anything (he’s never known any different). I have worked full time since he was 6 months old and realised the only way to be safe and secure in your own home is if you worked for it and you own it!
As for the future, well, most people are very understanding (not that I like telling everyone my life story). Some Asian men I have met have thought it’s not that big a deal. The violence and their reaction to my story tells me I need to stay well away from them, while others have been very understanding. Most of all, I have learned that Allah has blessed me with so much. I am lucky to be alive and I am lucky to have a healthy child. For me that’s enough for now.