Before you hear my story here is a little something you need to know about me.
I was 21 years old and just out of college, graduating from one of the best business management universities in the country. Winner of several management fests and awardee of the best management student award – that was me.
It was an arranged marriage – he was back from one of the top universities abroad, had studied in the best of schools in Bangalore and was, for many women, the so-called ‘perfect man’.
Our courtship lasted a few months and during that time we did have fights and he did get aggressive. I was ignorant, unaware that this was the sign i should have stopped and taken a thought about. All couples fight so according to me this was just one of our fights.
We got married a few months later in an elaborate traditional Muslim wedding. Soon after my nightmare began.
It was on our “honeymoon” that I was accused of having “other relationships” which led to fights after fights. A month into our marriage and he was already doubting my loyalty. I couldn’t meet my family or parents either. I used to get two hours a week to go spend time with them even though we lived 10 minutes away. He would get angry if he caught me talking to them on the phone, so my phone calls were limited to when he was at work or when he would use the washroom. His parents supported him and his actions throughout – it was the only way that they could control me.
But Why control me? They had a daughter as well, studying away from home. If they were that orthodox, then why would they send their daughter all the way to another continent to educate her while I couldn’t even go to the supermarket without fear? I was a caged bird.
I was two months pregnant when it started and it lasted all throughout my pregnancy and after. In my 34th week we had a fight about how I wasn’t meeting his mothers needs and being the perfect daughter-in-law, while driving back home. He drove like a maniac over the potholes and road humps because he knew it would hurt and every time I cried out I could see the look of satisfaction. 20 minutes later he realized he could lose his child and stopped.
Don’t judge me on the next part – this happened when circumstances became unbearable and I felt like I had lost all hope. After dealing with the mental torture, the aggression and abuse, I gave up after a huge fight and tried to kill myself.
Yes the same best student – the strong , educated girl felt too weak to go through what life had written for her. My 6 month old baby who normally sleeps through the night started howling when I was almost done. Thankfully i survived. All the blood did scare that man and he toned his actions down slightly – but for how long? A few weeks later he was back. His mother would fill his ears and he would come unleash the horror. I will let you imagine what I dealt with during this time, because even I cannot explain the amount of pain I was put through – I was accused of illicit relationships, of drinking and other accusations from his parents and him.
You’re probably wondering why I put up with all of this. The truth is, I was scared of him. “Terrified” is the word. I thought I would lose my child or even worse. I spent one year of my life thinking about what people would say if I spoke about it – they wouldn’t believe me because he knew how to place his words well. And I did not know how I would bring up a child on my own. I had a million fears and I lacked faith in myself. He had broken my confidence down to nothing. I was made so dependent that i found it hard to step out of the house alone.
Finally I gave up on him knowing that men like him would never change. Courage replaced fear and I woke up one morning and left. I refused to talk to him because I knew he would convince me to go back and that things would change. It had become a normal routine for him. This would have been the fifth time that he would call me back and then the torture would begin again. I knew I couldn’t waste my life on someone who had no value for it. I had to live for my child.
We got a divorce – it happened so quickly in a Muslim court that it was done within a week. I was fortunate enough to have parents who supported me through it completely. Family and friends stood by me throughout and gave me enough to know that I was only going to get stronger here on. I know of many women who aren’t as lucky and for societal reasons put up with this kind of abuse. But today I know to love myself first. I have learned to look beyond what people say, beyond the taboos, beyond being “that single mother”.
I hope every women, no matter what her background is, does the same.
To our friends, family and the world he was the perfect husband – one loved his wife with all his heart. But only I knew who he truly was inside. Mentally he scarred me for life. Today, I can’t imagine what a happy family life would be outside of my parents’ home. I can’t imagine being in a relationship and not being scared. I still have nightmares where I’m trying to run but I can’t.
There you go. This is was my story – the scars may have faded though the memory still holds the torture. But I survived.
About the Author: anonymous contribution
Image Source: -JosephB-