By Ayesha Asghar 16th August 2012
I haven't been able to blog recently for a variety of reasons.
a) my mother had a super bad workplace injury due to which she has a fracture in her shoulder, after which went through bizarre level of bullshit which can be read here
b) my mother finally decided to move out from my father's place [She finally decided to call it quits]
So the last two weeks, it was a lot of running around for me to speak with her problematic employers, getting her in touch with resources, getting her paperwork in order and finding community lawyers who can help her out with all of this.
This thing was a long time coming. I remember telling my mother to split when I was 15 and now I am 25. This was not something that happened out of the blue in thin air. This was something that was a continuous process for the last 10 years. At that point, I remember her saying that she would not be able to support any of us financially as my father never allowed her to complete her school and when she brought it up again, I had to remind her that we are here for her if she needs the help and she does not have any excuse anymore.
My super diva sister was of zero help [for those who don't know I have 5 sisters, another typical reason for my dad to abuse my mother as "yeh aurat mujhay beta nai dey saki" (this woman never gave me a son)], who is 19, and does not realises quarter of the garbage.
In her opinion, "mother is too old and she has been married for 27 yrs so can't just split". Yes, she is that problematic that she will tell her own mother to stay in an abusive situation because you know its better to be "miserably married" than "happily divorced".
I came to realise how bad things were when I was brought into stay at my parents' place this summer. I was basically brought in to act as a buffer. The yelling matches, the arguments, the misuse of financial accounts that I saw were one of the worst.
Every action and every abuse was justified by "I am husband and your mother is suppose to obey me!" When I would argue against his bullshit, he could get defensive and call me a "free-thinker" and curse me for not following the "culture" and "tradition".
These two months I stayed were one of the worst months of my life. I have never been that stressed and freaked out all the time. I was only waiting for my mother to take a step and move out so that I could see the whole thing through. Its a long way for her to be completely independent, confident, and self-caring but I hope she continues with it and she will learn to live for herself soon. I don't think the idea is completely impossible or maybe I am just being foolishly optimistic.
Since my mother told her siblings about her separation, all of them have given different version of same response.
"Ab burhapay main yeh sab karo gi" [Now in your old age, you are going to do this]
None of them approved of her decision, knowing all the abuse and garbage she has been through day in and day out.
My mother is unfortunately one of those women who do not come up with a huge support network because they never built one. She belongs to huge class of women who were married young and given away [cos that what good Muslim parents do] and whose world revolved around their husbands and their subsequent spawns. They live in a very restrictive household where nothing is done for them. There is no free will. There is only doing your duty and following the rules laid down by our society at-large.
My mother is fortunate in terms that she is not hounded by her so called relatives all the time [as all of them live in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh]. She is also fortunate that we have a system where an abused women is not left to rot or at the mercy of her husband. We support our families, women and provide them all the necessary tools to empower themselves especially those who are fleeing abusive homes.
But its still crazy to think that she does not have any good friends as she was never given the opportunity to nurture those relationships.
Though I always shudder when I think what if this happened in Pakistan? What would I have done and how would I have gone about it? I know for a fact that I would not have left her to rot but I know for sure that this whole process would had been more tedious for me and for her.
Follow Ayesha on Twitter @ashsultana
Ayesha's Blogs: Dance of Red
Disclaimer: Views here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Safe World for Women or staff