The wedding festivities continued with great fervor for an entire week. Mr. Khan married off his only daughter, Hamna, to one of his close friend’s son. A handsome and a decent young man, a cardiac surgeon by profession, he seemed like a perfect match. The groom’s family, being highly educated and honest, didn’t allow Hamna to bring along any dowry. In the days that followed the wedding, they treated Hamna like their daughter and made her feel home, away from home. Hamna was grateful for being blessed with such a loving husband and supportive in-laws. It was as if she was the living the perfect life.
About a month after their wedding, Hamna’s husband developed a terrible temper. At first, it was just verbal abuse, but one day, getting angry at some very petty issue, he slapped her. Hamna was shocked as she never expected something so cruel from her husband who had, till then, been so loving. However, he was embarrassed and apologized at once. Hamna decided to let go of it, but the incident repeated the next week and started to occur more often. He would frequently rebuke her and sometimes hit her as if taking out his frustration on her. Having had enough, one-day Hamna decided to confide into her mother-in-law. Hamna told her everything, but she simply told her that it wasn’t something uncommon in their family and that her son had always been like this by nature. She agreed to advise her son, but she focused primarily on ‘Apne pyar se usey badalne ki koshish kro’ (Try to change him with your love).
As if Hamna hadn’t tried that already. Not once had she reacted to his admonition, but continued serving him and loving him as she did before. However, it did no good. In fact, his behavior only worsened. She would hide her bruises and marks or lie about them when someone asked. One day, after he hit her with a frame, which left a big wound on her forehead, Hamna couldn’t take it anymore and went home. Until now, she hadn’t told her parents anything because she didn’t want to upset them. But this time told her parents everything and that she is considering calling this relationship quits. Her father wanted to support her, but her mom being a typical Asian Amma, told her not to let this little issue break their relationship and that ‘Aurat hi ghar banati ya bigarte ha’ (It is the woman who either makes or breaks a home). ‘Loag kya kehenge ge agr beti wapis ghar beth gae’ (What would people say if you split ways with him and come back home). As if the people’s view mattered more than their daughter’s mental peace and physical safety.
Nonetheless, they convinced her to go back to all that torture to protect the so-called ‘khandaan ki izzat’. They promised her that they would strictly warn him and will take this matter seriously if he does it again. If only they knew there was not to be the next time. The following week, he shoved her to the wall, which led to her internal bleeding, and she expired shortly after being taken to the hospital.
As for who killed her, it was not her husband alone, but her parents as well as her in-laws who couldn’t support her. Why doesn’t the society realize that marrying off your son to a girl hoping that she would miraculously reform his character and bad behavior, isn’t justified? How can his newly wed wife be expected to teach him the morals and values that should have been instilled in him at a much younger age? I wonder how many more girls need to be sacrificed before the society learns this!
Feature Image Credit: A scene from Afghanistan’s Palwasha TV series, a show that draws attention to the issue of violence against women.
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