I had heard stories of things like this happening to other women, I never for a minute thought it could happen to me. He was the perfect husband from the outside. He had a great job, a great house and car, was charismatic, and volunteered to help anyone who needed anything in our family. But at home, it was something else, he was someone else. The first time it happened, I blamed myself. There was no way he would have done something like that otherwise. I was sure it was a mistake, a one-off occurrence. And sure enough, he came back and apologized with chocolate and flowers. All was forgiven. The second time it happened, I was in shock. It just didn't make sense to me. How could this happen to me? I come from a good family, I was educated and smart, I was a strong woman with friends and family who had my back.
It started happening more frequently from then on. It wasn't just the physical abuse, that wasn’t as common as the daily emotional, verbal and psychological abuse. Although I had a Master’s degree in engineering, he made me feel like I didn't even know how to count. He told me I was worthless and I began to believe it. I stopped arguing and fighting, I got tired and just gave up. I let him make all the household decisions. I would ask him for everything, from what to do with the kids to what groceries to buy. It just became second nature for me to rely on him for everything.
He slowly and strategically isolated me from my friends and family. He told me we couldn’t afford another car, so I was forced to stay home most of the time while he was at work with our one car. He kept me occupied with the house and kids, expecting things to be a certain way around the house, saying he only liked my cooking and so we never ate out. Although in hindsight, much of his verbal abuse was triggered by my “horrible cooking”. It got to a point where I was too embarrassed to even speak to my friends, what if they figured out what was happening? As for my parents, I always gave them excuses; I was so busy with the kids, we would see them next week or next month. The distance between each time I saw my family kept growing and growing. He wouldn’t tell me not to see them, but he would tell me things like “see, they don’t really care, they would have come over or made you go see them if they really cared about you”.
One day, after more than 10 years of this, and on a rare occasion where I was visiting my parents alone, I don't know what came over me, but I finally let it all out. I told them everything. They were in shock and kept asking, “how?! He is such a gentleman! He is so funny and kind!” But eventually, they believed me, and that was the turning point. I begged them to help me and to not let me go back, I couldn't take it anymore. My parents were living with my brother and there was no space for my kids and me., but we had heard about Nisa Homes and called them up. Within a couple of days, I was able to move into Nisa Homes with my children. The counsellors there explained what the cycle of abuse is, that it was not my fault and that I was strong for not only having survived as long as I did, but more importantly for seeking help, and together we would restart my life the way I wanted it.
I am now about to complete a training program and have a job lined up alhamdulilah. I moved out with my children to our own place near my parents, we now see each other every day, and they help me take care of the kids while I study alhamdulilah. I can't believe how my life turned out, but I am thankful to this day for the support of my parents and Nisa Homes, I don't know where I would be without them.