It has been a difficult couple of months and every single day is a new form of struggle, as every day presents that nightmare and associated repercussions in a new form. When I start my day, or try to 'live' each day- I don't seem to know when it will strike but it has become a routine that I anticipate for that depression, severe anxiety and fear of life to strike.
On any given day, I end up keeping aside certain amount of time or hours at a stretch pondering about the brutalities that were inflicted on me, how it is being reinforced every other day in minor or major forms of emotional threat. Its a feeling that somebody has taken away everything from me and the one I am with- the person to whom I am married to, who, without having a better way of dealing with the ghastly and horrific incident that happened to his wife, has now inflicted further emotional repercussions on me (the wife) to save himself from the emotional pain and perhaps gain any little form of happiness for himself. Probably for him, pretending to be oblivious helps him cope. Having lost the trust on the woman that he had married to when life itself had put him in a difficult circumstance, he too has now become a victim on so many levels, after attaining knowledge of this incident. He desperately tries to let go of that incident so that he can propel forward with me. Little does he realize how day by day the pain is tearing me and taking away pieces of my 'self'- pieces that I refer to as happiness, joy of the little wonders of life or life the way I used to know, feeling of self independence and righteousness, courage and most importantly, the willingness to live.
I am a Muslim woman- Married. I was raped.
My previous profile: Female, educated from a top-tier university, successful career and confident in Life
I used to be a 'believing' Muslim up until a few months ago. I still do believe in God but yes, my faith has been considerably shaken. Early this year because of circumstances surrounding some of my life's other events- I found myself back in my home country attending to family. Religion is an important part of the culture in my country and everyone more or less believes in religion to a certain extent. Things had been going a little awry and I was beginning to lose a grip on my life. In such situations when a string of bad things happen, a lot of us who have religion and God to lean on, end up going to places of worship and speaking to individuals who are religious 'scholars' and asking for prayers to recite and Gods blessings. On one such day, a 'religious scholar' - a trusted and respected person whom the family had known a while, came by. He was renowned it seems in being able to foresee and tell if any person is under a 'bad spell' or in other words, a victim of black magic. In Islam and being a Muslim, it is not an uncommon phenomena to hear about the works of witchcraft and Jinn. According to this religious scholar, I was a victim of 'black magic'. I did not want to believe it, but there were no grounds to question this scholar as he was an Imam (priest) of a well-known Mosque. I would not blame my family either, as they were also a bit in shock after being informed about someone or some entity doing witchcraft on me and are naive, to say the least. They in turn became a victim of this ghastly act that happened on me and are having to live the remaining days of their life with that knowledge.
It is worse than death itself- to live with the knowledge of their daughters life being compromised and being unable to protect their daughter. This priest had established his trust within our household as he was learned and knew about religious scriptures- what I would now like to regard as guile and deceit.
As a part of the 'cure' to rid me of the bad spell that was done to me, he had given me religious scriptures to read and in addition to that- bottles of 'holy water' to drink over couple of weeks. These, as I know now- were probably drugged. In my parents home, on one such day as the 'cure' was being implemented- he locked the room that I was in claiming to my family that it was necessary as part of the cure. He then went on to rape me - in my parents home. It was for a few brief seconds but that was all it took to get me impregnated.
He mentioned on that day and on the days following, that notifying family would only bring more harm to me and my family's life safety. It was a threat that was repeatedly mentioned.
Looking back, it was all part of his plan to resort to such means to rob me from my finances for months to come. I was asked to repeatedly call him and stay in touch every single day, while he repeatedly kept brainwashing me and added to that the threat of harming my family. In the mean time, I came back to live with my husband in the USA- but the phone calls to that 'Imam' (priest) had to continue. I tried to live life as normal as possible- despite having my life sucked out of me. I kept thinking that perhaps if I could keep this ghastly act and knowledge of the violation of my body and my being confined within myself- I can still keep my family who were miles away from me safe and 'happy'. This religious scholar has contacts with the mafia and other corrupt political folks.
But very soon, I started noticing physical changes in myself and with my menstrual cycle. I had become pregnant. Horrified, since mentally I didnot seem to be able to muster the strength to take on any more threat or hardships- I managed to somehow find information on clinics and went ahead to visit the clinic and initiate an abortion. In all of this- with the phone calls to that rapist and my visits to the clinic, my husband found out what had happened. His life, in that one instant- fell apart. It was devastating to say the least. I had barely come to terms of what had happened with me and now the confrontation with my husband seemed too unrealistic to bare and to be happening to me. It was as though, I was being made to suffer through many more injuries at one given time. He informed my parents and they were in disbelief. That brought further shame on me. But as the shock set in, it has since then become difficult for them to live through life. My parents are elderly and they tried to complain to higher authority. But it is taboo, in our culture and society to speak of wrongs done to women, because no matter what- it is always the woman who is blamed by society. My family stands by me today despite living with the pain of their daughter being a victim. They are living so that they can help me come to terms to living life and not harm myself. They want me to attain happiness. As for that man who raped me- He is on the run, but living a free life. I wonder how many more girls and women has he raped in this way? How many families have suffered and asked to pay lump sums to him to keep the families from being emotionally raped over and over again?
I had known my husband for 8 years before we got married. We got married 2 years ago and we don't yet have any children. It has been a difficult journey and it has just been two months since my family came to know of what had happened to me. As for me, my husband put forth this decision- the decision to have me stay in that marriage after almost one week of suffocation to bear that knowledge- he has said that I either choose my family which includes parents, siblings, extended relatives OR I choose him. I chose him. It was extremely difficult for him, and still is, to accept me and trust me to not engage in sexual activity with another person. To him its not rape- its adultery. He does not see this as rape. In that instant I was ready to be thrown by him into the streets- a victim of rape, a victim of emotional control. He sees this as a negotiation that I did with that priest- where I get all my problems in life erased, if I consent to sex. He refuses to think any different.
My husband is trying to forgive me, but forgiveness comes at a cost. To choose him and to work on a marriage, would mean giving up all forms of contact with my family. Every other day, I am randomly questioned if any family member has tried to contact me, or vice versa. It's a form of 'conditional love'. The day that I am caught communicating with them- would be the day that he would renounce his marriage ties with me. It has been two months since I spoke with my family and have no knowledge of how they are coping. They not only suffered through the emotional injury of their daughters 'rape' but were now asked to give up any form of contact with their sexually abused daughter. My husband thought this is a punishment and a consequence to them and to me, for having this 'act' happen . I am living through this everyday, just like my parents, and living with his conditions to stay married. Why, you may ask? In the months preceding the rape, I had lost my job and status to legally work in the US. I am now under my husbands dependent status, which is only valid as long as I am married. I am struggling to get my education on track and get back to graduate school or even try and get back my visa status to again work here in the US. I have been in this country for 10 years, attended college, worked for some good financial companies and helped my husband before/after our marriage financially. I do love him, but day by day these conditions are only making me distant and resentful. Some days I feel like an imposter where I am doing all it takes to keep his happiness as my top priority. It feels like rape every other day and the only hope I have is no matter what, I am going to try and set my life back together- stitch it back, no matter how torn it is.
After reaching immense depression, I had seeked therapy a month and half ago and reached out to a psychiatrist....and she put a name to what had happened to me. It was not infidelity- it was "rape". I am trying to cope. Alone. Although, I have really good and close friends, but there isn't any one with whom I can talk to about all this. It took a lot of courage to say to my therapist what had happened- with full disclosure. After taking my husband to a session, he belittled me and the whole session by saying that I am only devastated because my 'infidelity' has been made public to my family. I feel ashamed. He wants to have nothing to do with my family or parents (with whom I am very close).
I am also waiting for that day, when my husband will realize that I was a victim of rape. Perhaps that day, he will start treating me like a rape survivor, and not a criminal who committed adultery.
I need some help in figuring out what I can do to cope and how can I bring myself to coping and fixing my marriage. He seems to behave all normal most of the time, with sudden spurts of anger where he reminds me of what foul act I committed.
I have no answers for you, no advice to give - I just wanted you to know that someone had read your story and that you have been heard. And I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with this on your own.
This is such a deep and complicated problem that I'm not sure the type of help you need is available on any internet discussion board.
I know sometimes it helps to know you are heard - if even by strangers. If you post here you may not get answers, but you will be heard.
I am so sorry about what's happened to you. I really hope you find a way to cope but I cannot give you advice on this either I'm sorry...
Why does your husband not want you to keep in touch with your family? Maybe I misread but I didn't really get why. Your family considers this rape and your husband considers it infidelity, so by choosing him over your family it means (to him) that you agree with him?
I have never, and hope to never again, feel compelled to suggest anyone ask their doctor for drugs. So very many people, especially women, take what I suppose are some form of nerve pills. See, I don't even know what they are, but people take them in order to be able to cope with life on a daily basis. I think they are abused most times. Talk to your doctor. He will know what I'm talking about. You need to be able to deal with your husband and your circumstances that are far beyond your control, at least until you are able to take control of your life. In the meanwhile, I don't understand you asking for coping skills of an internet forum if you are already in therapy. Is it not helping at all? Then you need a different therapist. It seems to me yours is failing at his job. And, if you expressed your feelings to him/her as you did here, has no prescription been offered or suggested? As far as your husband, I have no idea what could be suggested with his way of thinking being cultural.
cherrypie18, she agreed to his condition of no family contact because she would otherwise have to leave the country. He would renounce their marriage or divorce her or whatever immigration considers cause for being deported since she's here under his visa. For now, she is working on trying to get her work visa in order.
I am sorry but any culture/religion that believes (as in the Hadith) that Muhammad looked into hell and saw that it was inhabited by 99% women, and that beats women for being raped, is not one worth believing in. You are absolutely blameless in what happened to you, and I hope and pray that you reach your goals so you can stay in a free country. If your husband blames you for what has been done to you, shame be upon him. I would at least consult an immigration attorney (quietly) to find out what your rights are. You bare no shame in this matter.
Thank you all for your messages. Some days are extremely difficult to get by on an emotional level. Before this incident had happened in my life, there was some minor forms of emotional abuse that my husband had inflicted, but I put up with it....perhaps, I was scared or just that I had a full-time job to attend to. Overall, I tried my best in my marriage, to whatever extent possible.
Sometimes, all of this that has been happening in my life seems like it is a daily nightmare that I would like to wake up from and immense fear seems to occupy my whole being.
Whatever little self-respect and self-esteem that I thought I had, is lost as well.
I haven't been able to go back to my therapist as I had to temporarily re-locate for a couple of months for my husbands job. My therapist did give me contacts to other psychiatrists who deal with trauma patients in the area, but havent had the energy to get in touch with any therapists and having to tell my story again.
Yes, my husband is Muslim- but not one that practices religion. Although, he will conveniently use religion to justify certain things when necessary.
I know that the bridge between him and my family has been ruined for good and he blames them a great deal for bringing this "shame" on him. There is a lot of name-calling that he does. As for me, I think even a prostitute is regarded with much more respect than myself. Most men, in his position would have just kicked their wife out of the house and he takes great pride in "not" doing that to me but struggling to live with me (or a character-less person as he puts it)
On moments that I am able to, I try to figure out what I should do with my life....because honestly- it doesn't seem like anything good would come out of it. I had taken some prescription medicine/ anti-depressant, but it made me feel worse (incoherent thinking/suicidal)- so I quit that.
But thank you everyone for your comments.
I think if I can find a friend...or someone with whom I can actually meet and talk, that would help to some extent.
I have read your piece and sympathise alot.
You most certainly need some professional help with coping with the rape and now also with the control issue with your husband.
you need to explore all the options available to you and then make a choice what is suitable to you.. you say you love your husband but his controlling will destry you further his is why you need help from a professional to understand what is going on here... as for your immigration that will be finalised one day maybe you have to wait until that is completed..
You do have a choice you do not have to break ties with your family you mean the world to them and you do not have to put up with your husbands controlling belittling behaviour.
This has to be the most shocking post i have read, I am not muslim but I am a Hindu. And within these religion, family or "religious leader" are hold sacred to our family and life. We believe in praising our family values more than ourselves.
I cant picture how hard this might be, you are torn between your morals of what you know and traditional values. Having this man act on such evil actions has put your whole life in turmoil. it is sad when we believe and put our trust in a person we look up to, and for them to cause these actions.
We ask ourselves why us, why is god putting you through this. We will never find the answer..
I know you want to stay married to him, because in the muslim religion, it is considered a sin to be divorced - But right now, you need your family - regardless of what happen, your family will stand by you.. they might be ashame but they wont turn there back on you.
As for your husband, he doesnt feel compassionate about your ordeal, he is playing the victim and expects you to get through this.
No one knew this would of happen, no one knew you would be in this situation. My question, is why dont you leave him and go with your family overseas or where ever they are. Why are you making your self feel bad for something you didn't ask for. As a husband, he is suppose to stand by you and help you with any ordeals.
I think you need to speak to a therapist, let it all out, and you need a break from your husband. This was not your fault, you didn't ask for this, and he is making you feel that you caused this. In which, you didn't.
5 years from now, where do you see yourself, Step out of this circle that you alway knew of, and try to find happiness and be content before it is to late. Stop living a life that please everyone and your husband - You need to please yourself.
Wish you the best, god gives what he feels we can take, we might not see it, but it is all within us.
Given your circumstances is it possible for you to claim refugee status? Could you claim that you would suffer persecution in your home country for being raped if you were to return? If you got such status then you wouldn't NEED your husband to remain in the USA and he wouldn't have the same power to control you and further victimize you.
What happened to you wasn't your fault and any sane Muslim would agree. You need real support structures and some counseling and i hope you are able to find those where you are. Stay strong. I'm so sorry for what you're going through.
So sorry about what happened to you. Please check in your area for a Rape Crisis Center. For sure there will be women there to just talk to you if you wanted too. And they can help council you, and they can tell you....you're not the first woman this has happened too. Best of luck.