Dear Nadine Khan,
I got married to G, a guy my parents chose for me, two years ago. During the engagement period, we did not meet but talked on phone only. I realised that our background was very different, and I discussed my misgivings with my parents. They told me that all relationships require time to solidify, and I must not judge G without giving him a chance. After we got married, G started beating me over small things. I took it initially, and tried not to make him angry. Very soon I realised that it would not end; G enjoyed inflicting pain on me and my cries of agony seemed to give him some strange satisfaction. He threatened to divorce me if I told my parents. Once he beat me so badly that I started shouting loudly and his parents woke up. They knocked on the door and asked what the problem was, and I told them G was beating me. G became so mad that he uttered one divorce. He told me to collect my stuff and leave his house. I went to my parents’ house in the morning with the driver. My parents blamed me and said I must have misbehaved with him. They told me to go back to G. However, the next day G came and apologised to me and assured my parents he would not hit me again. My father told me not to do anything to make G angry again in front of him, and sent me back. They made it clear to me in front of G that they would not accept me back if I did anything to make G divorce me again.
G’s treatment became so bad that he even started hitting me in front of his parents. His parents didn’t try to stop him because they are also scared of G. G’s father is retired and his pension is not enough to cover his expenses. I became pregnant and tried my best not to do anything to provoke G, and he also became a little careful for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, he became mad when I broke his favourite tea mug and started hitting me. I ran out to protect myself which made G mad and he divorced me thrice in front of his parents.
Immediately afterwards, he apologised and said he didn’t mean it and since it was not his intention to divorce me and he did it in anger, it was not valid.
I did not listen to him and instead of going to my parents’ house I went to Karachi to my maternal aunt’s house. After five months, my son was born. G is now claiming that divorce uttered in anger is not legal, and I am still his wife. He wants me back and has promised he would not hit me again. However, I am free for the first time in my life. My khala is an enlightened lady who has sheltered and supported me since G divorced me. She wants me to complete my studies and stand on my own feet. My parents have told me to return to G for the sake of my son. I know G will not change. I have given him many chances, and have realised that he is mentally sick. I even pointed this out to him when we were still married and asked him to go for therapy, but he beat me and told me to shut up. What do you think I should do?
Dear Battered Woman,
It is extremely sad how parents force their daughters to live with abusive husbands instead of helping them to end an abusive relationship. Instead of thinking about the well-being of their daughters, they worry about what relatives would say. Your parents failed to protect you from your abusive husband. Instead of sending you back with G, they should have asked him for a written divorce. You are lucky to have a loving aunt and, as suggested by her, you should complete your education. You can approach a mufti for fatwa about the finality of your divorce, but according to my meagre knowledge, even if the divorce is pronounced once it becomes final after the idat period of three months is over. You have lived without G for five months, which means your divorce is valid. Your husband’s assertion that divorce given in anger is not valid is not correct also, but again you need to discuss your case with a lawyer and obtain a divorce certificate as soon as possible. You have lived with a psycho and have suffered greatly. Don’t let anyone make you go back to him again. Good luck!
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