Survivor Story: Part 1 | Part 2
I woke to his efforts as he desperately tried to revive me.
I was 18, young, strong and not ready to give in. Every time we would argue, I demanded answers and spoke back to him and this made him angry. I became ‘unruly, disrespectful, and uncontrollable.’ All the while I worked to save our marriage and maintained the household myself. I would buy new clothes and tell everyone he had bought them for me to keep up appearances. He was quite the charmer with my family and friends. I knew no one would believe me if I told them anything, after all I avoided my family more and more, and he would be the one to invite them over. My family thought I hated them, and I wanted to only be with my husband, all the while I was just hiding, afraid of losing him.
Several incidents took place soon after, where slapping became tradition. The slap turned into a punch which turned into a kick. And the floor became my ultimate home. It was not easy to hit me, I would often fight back.
A whole year of this, and yet it seemed I was more in love than ever before, because he would always beg for my forgiveness. He said he had problems and is going to get help. Said his upbringing was bad and he had no control. But he loved me, and couldn’t live without me. He had few friends and would spend every spare minute with me. It became a prison at home, but I still felt sorry for him. I was all he had, and he was all I had.
One such day we argued about gold jewellery. He wanted me to give up some of my gold for his brother’s wedding. This day was a typical day off of work for him. I cooked lunch for him and waited for him. We were speaking while he got dressed about the gold, I said I would gladly buy new gold but wanted to keep my gold to pass on to our daughter. Quickly it became violent, I tried to defend myself but then I saw our toddler walk towards him with a wooden spoon, this shocked me and I stopped defending myself.
This was the turning point for me, I had been so selfish, and we carried on without ever thinking about our daughter. I started to realise that belittling him was the catalyst for him beating me.
How little did I know! Despite everything I set a new challenge for him. I stopped yelling and obeyed his every word; I thought this would put our relationship at peace. If I saw an argument about to start I would start reciting the Holy Quran so he would stay away. He became agitated by this. He wanted me to be angry. I started to see a whole new side to him.
The whole atmosphere started to change in the house, he became malicious. He would hold out his leg to trip me at home, or burn me with cigarettes while I slept. Kick me off the sofa and say ‘honey are you ok? I was just joking’. But I wasn’t ready to react. I knew patience had its virtues, and frankly I became depressed and tired of fighting.
I was afraid of my daughter seeing me angry, so avoided anger at all costs. Nothing changed, he wasn’t paying for anything and we started to hate each other.
I saw less of my family and friends and became withdrawn. I would often contemplate suicide and even attempt, with failure. At this point neither of us had much of a social life. We were stuck with each other. The only time I would be happy was during his working hours and he would come home and ask why I was laughing? It became obvious he found joy in my misery. I prayed to Allah for release and cried day and night. In 2008 we visited his family on a trip to Bangladesh. His father passed away and I stayed to comfort the family. I also told them of my problems at home and they empathised with me and promised me solace. He was confronted by his family and was ashamed of how he had treated me. I was so happy he felt this way.
He apologised and begged me at my feet. I felt terrible and took him into my arms with love. We became close once again, and for me the storm was over.
I promised myself I would never let it go out of control again, I said that if ever he raised his hands, I would go to my family. He was afraid and we stayed happy for a few months. He started to pay bills, and bought me clothes. He took me to see my family and friends and we fell in love once more.
But the calm was short lived. He started falling back to his old habits, teasing me, mocking me and beating me as a joke. It was not as violent as before but never the less it was always hurtful. I became frustrated and attempted to notify my family.
One day I told them that he had hit me. They were shocked and asked me if it was the first time, I didn’t know how to answer and lied by saying yes, my family told me to stay with them and they called him over and demanded an answer. But he turned the whole situation around, said I was careless and wasted money. He admitted he lost his temper just this once, but cried his eyes out to them. He said I don’t look after our daughter, don’t cook or clean. I had gone on strike and was living on takeaway that week, so he wasn’t completely lying. I was so silly to trust him, I felt so silly. My family were disappointed in me and I was stunned. I went back and he warned me. He said no one wanted me, and if he left me, I would never be worth anything. I became so afraid of being alone I begged him to forgive me.
In November 2008 I received a call from my mother asking me to take my nephew to the hospital. I was getting ready and was getting my daughter ready but he refused to let me go. I said I had to go, he protested and I tried to leave. He became violent and hit me with much force which resulted in me leaving in an ambulance. This was a near death experience for me and the last time he would ever lay his filthy rotten hands on me. I told the hospital everything and he was arrested. Months went and my family felt terrible, for not seeing the signs, part of me blamed myself but I felt happier than ever knowing I had my family beside me.
Soon he had found a way to see my family again. He would beg every member and even me that he had changed, he would never hurt me again, and that he knows what he has done is wrong, that he missed his daughter. I was not convinced by a mile. I knew he only wanted to come back for his paperwork. He hadn’t received his permanent residence in the U.K yet. But my fate was so that everyone became convinced, (believe me he was convincing). I refused to go back, but it meant losing my family, so just to prove my point I took him back, got him his papers, and to no surprise, he suddenly wasn’t happy with me. Said I wasn’t the same! Within a month he walked. I have never looked back nor tried to stop him. The good thing was, he didn’t even dare yell at me let alone hit me again. I was a different woman now. I knew support was out there. I met many people while I was separated, at women’s groups and victim support. I became a woman in my own right, with independence no one could take away from me.
He has left me with 40% blindness and a whole lot of memories and insecurities, but also left me a beautiful daughter, to whom I owe my every happiness.
To this day he is still trying to make my life a misery by taking me to court on false accusations and trying to wreck my family. But he is failing and will continue to fail, because I am stronger than I have ever been. It’s been two years, and sometimes I pinch myself to make myself believe its real, I’m free.
I won’t lie, it’s been a hard and painful journey, I haven’t told you many incidents as, it is probably too sensitive, but I have experienced mental, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of this man!
I have found peace in my religion. I don’t hate him because he’s not worth even that. Its true there is a life beyond the hands of the abuser, sister, I have lived it, I am living it, alone but steady. I have faced the prejudices of society and continue to defend myself in some parts of the community; there is no shame for you or your family in leaving a man who does not value life. For life is a right, entrusted to you by God, you have a duty to protect the sanctity of life.
I live to tell you my story, to give you my hand, come let’s be free and fly the sky without limits.