To Be a Woman in Pakistan: Six Stories of Abuse, Shame, and Survival ( Second Store 37 year Old Rehana )

talaal jabbar
Posted October 28, 2020 from Pakistan

Dear World pulse,

Rehana, age 37

My life is no different than that of any other woman living in poverty in Pakistan. My husband is abusive and I am the primary breadwinner. I am striving to get my children educated as they are my last hope. The only difference in my story is that I could have maybe had it all if one incident had not occurred in my life.

I grew up in a home where my parents were barely earning enough to support our family of 14. My father used to make medication boxes while my mother worked in homes as the help. We learned to survive on very little.

When I was about 14, I was engaged to Nasir. Being with him was the best time of my life. He was a kind man and earned a decent living. Even though we never really spent much time together, I felt like I loved him. I guess no one ever forgets their first love.

Then, one dreadful night before I got married, a few young men snuck into our home in the middle of the night, around 3 am. They tied up my parents and beat them. I was sleeping with my two sisters in the next room. As I was the eldest, they took me out of my bed and tied me up my legs. I knew they wanted to rape me. I explained that I would lose everything if something happened to me. I grabbed a knife and told them that I would kill myself if they continued. Finally, they decided to let me go. I was saved, but the damage was already done. When Nasir and his family heard the news, I was considered "used" and was no longer worthy of him. Just last night, six boys snuck in to a home and stole everything they could. When the parents resisted, they threatened to take the daughter with them. This is very common in our neighborhood. It is so easy for a young girl to lose her dignity and to stain her reputation because of uncontrollable circumstances.

When I turned 15, I married my husband, Fakhir, out of desperation. His mother asked for my hand in marriage as there was no one to cook in their home. I married for their convenience. I am Fakhir's second wife. He said he loves his first wife, Rukhsana, and has two children with her. I think he uses my salary to support her as well. Fakhir is unreliable, he goes to work sometimes, and takes the rest of my salary for gambling.

We fight over money all the time. I want to educate my children. My time to spend on myself is gone. Now I just earn for my children and our home. On pay day, if I do not give my husband my salary, he won't let me leave my home and he will beat me. However, I secretly keep the fees and rent because I don't trust what he would do with it. I am the primary breadwinner. When I had my last baby, she was only seven months old, and I had to get back to work. Even though doctors have told me to stop working because I have a worm in my stomach, I know I cannot rely on Fakhir. The medication I was prescribed costs 3000 rupees [$33 U.S.], so I cannot afford to treat myself either.

The domestic violence started two months after my marriage, and hasn't stopped even fourteen years later. Broken limbs, broken teeth and miscarriages became a routine for me. Why he beats me, I don't know. Maybe he sees me as an animal with no rights, or a punching bag for his frustrations. He surely does not see me as a living and breathing human being. Wherever I have worked, I have felt as though I have been treated like a person, not the way I am treated at my home. I realize that I deserve to be considered a human being.

thanks to all world pulse user.


talaal jabbar

Comments 3

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Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Oct 29, 2020
Oct 29, 2020

Hello, Talaal,

Thank you for sharing Rehana's story with us. I hope she can join us on World Pulse so we can encourage her here. How did you know her story?

Nini Mappo
Oct 30, 2020
Oct 30, 2020

Hello Talaal,
It's a shame that Rehana lost the possibility of a good life and ended up in an abusive marriage.
I'm just wondering your connection with the women whose stories you share, what you aim to achieve by sharing them, what the women think about your sharing them, and whether it is possible for the women to share their own stories?
They don't have to write in English, they can use pakistani and this site can translate it so that the women can receive encouragement and moral support directly. Do they have access to smart phones that they can use/ would you help them tell their own stories if they were keen to do so?
I am wondering, that's all. Thank you for the feedback.

Nov 03, 2020
Nov 03, 2020

Dear Talaal,
This is a sad story about Rehana. How I wish Rehana Could join World pulse so that she can get encouraged directly.