The Killid Group, July 1, 2016
Sometimes women are not a woman’s best friend
By Habib Weqar
Take Sakina. Daily abuse and violence at the hands of her mother- and sisters-in-law nearly destroyed her marriage. After three years of living in their midst, she and her husband Ekram are now living separately in a rented house.
Sakina says trouble started immediately after her wedding. “My mother-in-law misbehaved with me from the start. She and my sisters-in-law treated me like I was a servant. They would order me around, tell me when to sit, when to stand; shout at me at every meal, ‘there’s less salt’, or they’d say there was too much salt,” she recalls.
Eventually her husband turned against her. He would return at 10pm and beat her for no reason. Unable to bear the torture, Sakina escaped to her parents’ house one day. “My father took me back to my husband’s house. They feared the scandal and taunts of neighbours. He pleaded with my mother-in-law to not bring shame to either family,” she says.
But that did not stop the daily abuse and beatings that continued for the next two years. Even her husband’s younger sisters would abuse her, and if Sakina reacted, her mother-in-law would beat her up.
Finally her husband walked out in frustration over the situation at home. For a few days his phone was off, says Sakina. When she got through to him she says she told him, “Look you’ve taken yourself far away from this mess in which I am. Let us live separately from the family.”
Her husband shares his side of the story. The first year of their marriage was happy, he says. But his mother and sisters slowly turned him against his wife. “I don’t know how the problems arose … each time my married sisters came home, my mother would complain about my wife. That infuriated me, and I would beat my wife to punish her,” he says. It took him a long time to realise that it was his mother and sisters who were torturing his wife.
There are hundreds of such stories.
Sometimes the future is so bleak for women caught in the daily cycle of domestic violence that they commit suicide.
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