Mar 19, 2015

While Dreams Sleep: Razia Jaweed

Source: Chime Original

BY Razia Jaweed


I was a housewife – looking after the kids and all that but life wasn’t good. My husband and I quarrelled every day. He beat me and always tortured me before going to bed. I couldn’t speak my mind. My life was ruined after my marriage. I was a prisoner in my own home. But now after 19 years of hell we are living together very happily.

As young girls we are taught to be silent and not even to speak to elders. We have to obey our parents without question while the boys can do what they like. We learn not to speak up because even if we did our parents will always take the side of their sons. I took these feelings with me into the marriage. I was depressed and always had fear in my mind. Now I have power, I have taken the driving seat.

I started to sneak out of the house for a couple of hours while he was at work and go to an organisation that was working for women’s empowerment. They boosted my confidence and taught me how to communicate. One day I talked to my husband calmly about what I’d been doing and told him that I wanted him to come with me. He went with me grudgingly to one of their seminars, more to shut me up than because he wanted to. They showed a play about the life of a woman being abused and he recognised that as our home life. When we came home he sat down with me and quietly said that his heart was convinced by the play and that he wanted to clean up his mind. We began to go to their seminars together and then he got the desire to change the situation of all women suffering from domestic violence.

I began going door to door listening to the problems of ladies in my community. Usually when I go to a new woman she panics and doesn’t want to speak to me. Their hearts are full of fear that their husbands will find out they’ve spoken about what’s happening. I tell the woman not to let the problem die in her heart, that she has to speak about what’s happening, that when the problem is out in the open a solution
can be found.

Often there’s resistance from the husband to me speaking to the women. They say they’re living very happily and they don’t want me to interfere. They don’t want to take any responsibility for what they’ve done. In these cases my husband goes and talks to the husband and then there’s very little resistance. Together we formed a group and he works with the men and I with the women. I’m very happy now. I get to live freely with my husband and help others. I have learnt that you can change any situation in your life, if you really want to. I’m very  hopeful about our work because I changed my husband and he wasn’t a very flexible stick. If he can change, anyone can.

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