Being back home felt like dejavu, every day I woke up in my childhood bedroom, surrounded by all that was familiar to me but it didn’t feel the same. This time I was a grown women and this ‘nursery’ felt alien to me. Although it did feel weird to be back under my fathers’ roof, this was home and I was safe.
I decided to change my bedroom and brought home all that I had of him. I created a little sanctuary with all our memories. As heart-breaking as that was, I found solace in thinking that this was my way of keeping him close – at the end of the day I truly loved this man.
His Mother, brothers and him were arrested and held at the police station for 48 hours. After the questioning and denying all accusations they were released on bail. The police had given him and his family a warning to not come near me or any members of my family, I was reassured that if they did not comply with this it would result in them being arrested immediately. My home was fitted with an alarm that lead straight back to the police if went off and all other measures by the police were taken for my safety.
Nine months after my abuse, emotionally and physically my life came to a halt. I can't express in words how I was feeling because everything was muddled in my mind and I felt lost and helpless within my own self. I kept a smile on my face to save my family from pain, but when I was alone I was a wreck. I would sit on the edge of my bed, motionless, and wonder if I had made the right decision. You’d think I were crazy for missing him, but the ugly truth is that I still did. I held onto the thought of him coming back and miraculously making everything right. I would read his text messages over and over again and go through the endless amount of pictures that showcased our lives together. I kept these thoughts hidden from everyone around me because I knew they wouldn’t understand. I was alone. The only women that failed, in my mind, was I.
I confided in the one person I knew who wouldn’t judge me; Maj. She kept me strong and reminded me of all that I had escaped. I’d have moments where I would feel a soft spark in me that made me feel like I could pick up the fragments of my shattered life - my confidence, my faith, the love that I was surrounded with and start all over again. But the feeling of desperation, wanting to be with him would smother me. I would wake up, some days, and wish I were pregnant. At least everything wouldn’t have been in vain; at least I would have something good and pure that came out of the evil that I had endured. When I was with him, I’d pray for a baby every single day. I’d pray that the baby would make him love me. However, the month would come to an end and my life would come crashing down once again.
It took a while for these varied emotions to have less of an impact on me and over time I had accepted that I would be on my own for the rest of my life. I had nothing to lose, I didn’t know what life was going to be like for me but I didn’t want to feel like this anymore. I had to make a change. I bought new clothes, spoilt myself with material things and reconnected with friends I once knew. I wanted to feel like that carefree girl that was the soul of the party. I guess shopping can actually be therapeutic, to an extent of course. I hadn’t enjoyed life like this in a very long time. I did all the ‘normal’ things; I went to work, spent time with my family and went out with my friends but that aching feeling of loneliness and loss was still very much present, but I suppressed it and buried it deep inside.
I kept my wedding ring on for a long time and didn’t disclose to anyone that I was separated. When people would ask how my husband was, I would say that he is fine and acted like I was happy, I wasn’t ready to go through the looks of pity or be the subject of gossip so much so that I refused to attend the engagement of someone so dear to me, my closest of cousins. My refusal lead him, the groom, to state that “If Marzana does not come, then I won’t be either.” I pulled myself together and I put him first. They were all still so convinced that I wouldn’t attend that his Father ordered me to chauffeur the groom to his engagement. To my surprise, I was happy to be there. I was happy to be around my family. My presence was valued and I received the kindest of compliments. Having lost two and a half stones and feeling so unworthy, they uplifted my spirit to a level which was unknown to me. Again, if I were asked about my ‘other half’ I would lie and explain that “he couldn’t make it.”
I told my parents that no one was to know of this broken marriage and that I was willing to wait for him to change and return one day even if that meant waiting a lifetime. My determination was so strong that I almost started believing it. My family, who were still unaware of the actual truth, respected my decision and agreed for the sake of my happiness.
During my time at home, I had the time to reflect and ponder on my religion. I became closer to Allah and my faith in Him was stronger than ever. I started to research the teachings of marriage in Islam and the rights of a man and woman. I started a few short courses and read books on marriage. I needed the guidance as well as wanting answers. Was it my fault? Did he have the right to beat me?
What I found is what I knew all along, he was wrong.
I regret not knowing the guidelines my religion had in place. It would have supported me and maybe it would have given me the courage to stand up and fight for myself.
If you have gotten this far in my story, I’m sure you’re wondering what happened to him. Some of you may think he’s in prison rotting away in his cell alongside the rest of his family. But the ugly truth is, is that he is roaming around freely in this world and all that is between us in an injunction order. This may anger some of you but the mistake I, and a lot of other domestic abuse sufferers made is not going to the police straight away after the first hit. With no bruises or scarring I was just a voice. And the harsh reality is, it’s my word against his. With the lack of evidence they were set free with just a slap on the wrist. I could have appealed it but the stress it would have caused and the truth coming out to my family was too much of a burden to handle.
However, Maj was infuriated with the outcome. She insisted that she would be my witness and that I needed to fight all the way and let it be seen that my husband was locked away and suffered, just how he made me suffer. I still refused and tried to make her believe that this was a blessing in disguise, that maybe with the police being involved he would have too much fear to lay a finger on me again. My naivety frustrated her; she wanted to burst the fairy-tale bubble that I was living in.
Maj recommended that I needed a break, a holiday in Spain. I think she wanted to show me the life I was missing out on. The life I once knew. But I couldn’t stop my mind from wondering if he would come back a changed man. That’s all I wanted.
The morning after returning home from our holiday, I woke up in a joyful mood. I made my breakfast and read through my letters. My joy was shattered by a few words in black and white on a piece of paper. My ‘Mr Perfect’ had once again abused my rights and my name. My face had turned sour and my body turned to stone. Knowing her daughter, Ma immediately asked, “What’s wrong?” I slowly walked upstairs and she followed. She sat on the edge of my bed and watched me stare at this piece of paper that shook me to my core. As she carried on watching me, I raised my left hand and removed the only object that tied me to him, my wedding ring. I placed it down on my bed and as I did Ma said, “With you wearing that ring I knew you would not let go of him. I knew you would stay.” I looked up and replied, “not anymore.” With relief she exclaimed “Alhamdulillah” (All praise is to Allah). Ma took the ring and left my room.
“Listen to this…”
That was it. She didn’t need to ask me twice. I was sure and between us we decided that I needed to call the Shariah council.
My mindset had changed and I was my priority. I looked at my reflection in the mirror and there I was alone, but this time I didn’t care anymore. All I knew is that this was it. He’s used up all his chances, what can I say; a Leopard never changes its spots. He was officially dead to me.
Destiny can often make you feel like your entire life is a joke yet at the same time it teaches you many life lessons.
This was the beginning-
I was reborn..