At the age of twelve, she was subjected to sleep with a man much older to her. She gave birth to four kids and numerous miscarriages in between. The last baby, they mutually decided to abort to speed up the process to fly to the US. She had wanted to use birth control as numerous pregnancies and kids one after another was getting to her frail body. But her husband would not have it her way. Instead, he said all that she was, was a baby-making machine. She was raped she does not know how many times. She lived in the refugee camps where nutrition was scarce and diseases were more. By the time she turned 30, she had almost accepted that her fate was to serve her husband in bed. He cared nothing about the kids. Instead, the meager income he had he would spend on alcohol. One day, the little money she had saved up was also tricked from her saying he would buy some fat chickens to feed the family. He showed up after three days, unrepentant and more miserable while the kids survived on plain rice and water.
Stories like these are common among the many women I come across these days through work and through ministry. They are uneducated and powerless. They do not even know that they have human rights. After flying to the US- for over a year, this woman endured abuse in every form: verbal, physical, sexual and mental. She had no idea she had her rights to protect herself. The husband had beguiled her so much threatening her about the monetary and parental support that she would lose. She really had accepted this to be her fate. And one day, she had had enough. She dared to dial 911 and put her husband behind the bars. For the first time, she felt empowered. For the first time, she exercised her rights.
There is so much she has yet to overcome. 18 years of subjection to a dictator sort of husband. 18 years of ignorance. Somewhere in her heart, there is still this fear that he will pounce on her. But, every day she is learning that fear is only going to cripple her. For her safety and her kids, she is determined to stay strong and carry on.