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Survivor Story (Part 1)

Survivor Story: Part 1 | Part 2

Assalamu Alaikum (may peace be with you).

I am a survivor, and this is my story.

I am a British born Muslim woman, a daughter, sister and a mother to a beautiful girl. I was born to a family of 7 children, Alhamdulillah. I was taught from a young age the value of life through Islam and society. My father was a factory worker and my mother was a house wife. During my childhood I never saw violence in my family; my father respected my mother a lot, and was a support to her.

However circumstances were so, that my family had promised to my uncle back home in Bangladesh, that one of us siblings would marry one of my uncle’s son or daughter. I had turned 16 and the promise did not materialise through my elder siblings and so it came down to me to uphold this promise to their youngest son (this was my first cousin). I was not as strong as my sisters, so I agreed to the marriage, in hope that my family will always support me. I stress that I was not forced to marry him; in fact it was my decision.

We married in the spring of 2004, in Bangladesh. He was much older than me, 9 years to be precise. I fell in love with him straight away; he was sweet, charming and took good care of me. Religion was important to me and he respected that; he would pray with me and respected my needs. For me I had struck gold. I lived in Bangladesh with him for 3 months, then travelled back to London were I would apply for his residence to later join me. We continued a good relationship, via letters and phone calls for 11 months which seemed like a life time for me.

He joined me in London finally in July 2005. Things were still very good in our relationship. Or so I thought. There were many nights were we would converse about general things and he would always tell me how I am a good wife to him. He also told me that I will enter paradise if I continue to obey him and that my door to heaven is under his feet. I was entirely with him on all his opinions. To me, he was wise and knew a great deal more than me. This would later become his greatest weapon.

In August 2005 I fell pregnant. In the meantime, we had been so far living with my parents in their home. My father became poorly and passed away when I was 3 months into my pregnancy. By this time our relationship had its first test. Companionship: he failed to comfort me at the time of my father’s death. While I wept he would pressure me to uphold my ‘wifely duties’. It became tough for me and we fell into an argument. We both yelled but made up soon after.

He started to work and earned very little. I had a stable job and earned good money. We were supporting his family back home and my mother supported us here. But when I was 6 months into my pregnancy, I started to save for my baby. Little did I know this would change my life completely. For 3 months I saved half of everything I had earned. He would ask me why I was doing this, to which I would say, it was for our baby. But he was angry, he said that is what child benefit was for! This was the turning point for us, from then on we would constantly argue over money. How could I have thought about supporting his family whilst I was worried about supporting mine?

One such night, he came home and by then I was 7 months into my pregnancy. I waited up for him as I usually would and we spoke about the costs of the week. He asked me for some money to send to his family, this turned into an argument. I said I wasn’t going to stand for his behaviour, but he got angry and insulted me with foul words and mental abuse. I felt terrible and pushed him away. I called him ‘a stupid man’. He slapped me across the face. This was for me the biggest shock. I instantly reacted and shoved him; it became very physical which ended with me being flung by the arms across the room and landing flat on the floor.

The baby stopped moving and I became worried. I asked him to take me to the hospital but he left for work. He begged for my forgiveness straight away, said it was ‘spur of the moment’ and it would never happen again. My family didn’t notice as no one was home. I suffered pain and visited the hospital eventually but did not report anything. ‘I fell’ was the answer I gave. I cringed as I thought of all the clichés. I knew this was wrong but he begged me for forgiveness, how could I not pardon him? It was a one off incident after all, and I did shout at him too.

Little did I know this was the beginning to a terror only fate could let me live through. For the next 3 months he treated me well and our daughter was born, he helped me take care of our child. My mother moved out to live with my sister and we now lived alone.

My daughter was one month old when he came home from work one day. We spoke about the shopping I had done; it had cost more than our weekly budget. This was always bad news to him. He said I would no longer need to do the shopping for the baby nor the house. He will take care of everything, as long as I hand over all the money to him. I refused. This turned into an argument. He said he was tired of working and not getting any respect, but I cooked, cleaned, took care of him and kept orderly with him as he wished.

I was afraid my family would find out and ask him to leave. I loved him. And knew one day he will love me the same. The same night I lay next to our child, he started to mock me telling me that I was turning fat, that I am not like the women in Bangladesh and I am not ready for motherhood. To which I reacted, saying neither are you like a man of a household. This angered him and as I lay he held a pillow over me, I gave him a fight too, but then he over took me.

Gasping for air I passed out…


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11 Comments

  • Salma

    can’t wait for part 2

    January 24, 2011 - at 6:16 pm
  • Rumi Begum

    This is a familiar incident which is echoed thoughtout history within the bangladeshi community…it is extremely disappointing to still see it take place even now. Situations like these reiterate the ideas of the younger generation that actually, to marry someone from abroad has its major disadvantages on grounds of compatibility…not of character but of mentality/out look on life and the idea of the role of the man within a family unit.

    I am keen to read the second section…

    January 24, 2011 - at 10:44 pm
  • Talat Baig

    Such a sad story, may Allah (swt) give the sister patience, strength, courage and protection

    January 24, 2011 - at 10:49 pm
  • Asma

    Very well put! This story epitomises the current situation in our community, daughters are sometimes coerced or even emotionally blackmailed by parents (who have their childrens best intentions at heart) to getting married back home. This usually leads to a marriage which doesn’t have the ability to go the distance as the foundation it is set upon (both partners perspective of life etc) is very fragile. Another point is violence in marriage is a lot more accepted back home and this is the mentality that comes out when cracks start to appear in these marriages.

    January 25, 2011 - at 2:29 pm
  • Rumi Begum

    Likewise. I agree with the sentiments that you have also shared. Aslm> 🙂

    January 25, 2011 - at 8:02 pm
  • Aisha

    this is so sad. very well written so far. alhamdulillah she is a survivor.

    January 27, 2011 - at 12:26 am
  • Tina

    I am sure many can relate to this sister’ story. This type of arranged marriage gives a bad image to the good marriages. In different parts of the world a minority of individuals abuse their blood relations for their spouses & in other places they abuse their spouses for their families sometimes they abuse each other or each others families.

    January 29, 2011 - at 6:51 pm
  • Hopevspessimism

    What is interesting is the comments thus far fail to recognise that this man was not an abuser due to it being an arranged marriage, he was an abuser because he chose to be one.
    When he could no longer CONTROL the financial arrangements he decided to control her with his words and body.
    Essentially domestic violence is about power and control and has nothing to do with the circumstances under which two people got together, if we analyse a situation of DV to try and determine ‘what went wrong’ we fall into the greatest deception, that something caused the violence.
    Violence is not causal behaviour it is a conscious decision to abuse.
    Alhamdilah for his sisters survival, May Allah swt give her the strength and fill her life with tranquility and baraka.

    February 1, 2011 - at 12:53 am
  • Fathimak786

    Ya Allah subhaanAllah! this is mentally disturbing to think men like that exist in society. We know they do but it only hits us when we hear about an incident like this or it happens to someone we know.
    What has happened to this sister now? I pray Allah relieves her of this misery and difficulty she has faced and for the family’s sake he has mend his ways. Ameen.

    February 1, 2011 - at 12:01 pm
  • Nour DV

    link for part 2 is below the main picture

    February 1, 2011 - at 1:49 pm
  • HSU

    Terribly saddening to hear the sister’s suffering, May Allah grant her immense sawab for the pain she suffered and remained hopeful in the Mercy of Allah (s.w.t).

    For me the blame lies squarely with the parents and family of the poor girls/young women who force their daughters and sisters into these sort of marriages. Granted that this can happen in every marriage, but this sort of marriage practice is unislamic and goes against the teachings of Rasulullah (s.a.w). When two people are united for reasons other than to enhance each others deen, find warmth, comfort and love in each other then this sort of abuse will continue to happen. Whilst I wholeheartedly lend my support and Duas to the Sisters who have suffered and are suffering right now. We must address the basis on which these marriages are created too.

    May Allah protect us all from the evil of domestic violence and save us from committing it and being victims of it. Ameen

    February 1, 2011 - at 3:33 pm

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