“Getting married to a widower at just 18 years old and becoming the “mother” of two orphans is something I would have never thought would happen to me, but it suddenly became my reality.”
“My husband and I are relatives, but that did not stop him from being very strict and demeaning. Our marital problems started from our very first days under one roof; however I listened and complied because he was my husband, and I was raised to believe that good wives should listen to and obey their husbands.”
“Being ordered around; not being allowed to leave the house, even to see my family and leaving me with the children alone for weeks, were only a part of my suffering. All these finally pushed me to take the decision to stand up for myself.”
“Going to court became part of my routine, I was filing appeal after another, and then my husband and I would settle our problems temporarily and go back home.”
Aida*finally decided to get a divorce. “I could not afford a lawyer so I represented myself, I did not know the procedures, and I had no idea what I was doing. I was left alone with no support, not even from my family. After giving birth to my son, I had no place to go, I rented a house and found a job that barely paid the rent, there were days when we had no food, no clothes.”
“After 10 years in court, I finally got a divorce. I felt like life was finally working out for me. I married a man who seemed to be the exact opposite of my former husband. But I discovered that he was lying to me, he was not financially capable of getting married, he had a wife and five children and he could not afford a second family. I realised that I had married a fraud.”
“As hard as it was, I had to break free and get a second divorce; I was devastated. But this time it is different because I am receiving full legal support from The Lebanese Council to Resist Violence Against Woman (LECORVAW). I am now aware of my rights and responsibilities. Now it is my turn to help other women who suffer and stand for their rights. I am now providing support as a paralegal; I go to the courthouse and help women in need who are lost just like I was.”
LECORVAW is one of the organisations supported by the Oxfam Women’s Access to Justice Programme.
“After having gone through all this pain, I still believe in fate, but I also believe we have a choice and we can change our lives. I am much stronger than I used to be. I would like to tell all women out there that education and awareness are key factors to developing strength and self confidence; we need to keep learning, reading, observing and growing.”
*Name has been changed to protect privacy
Photo: Sariah Ghazzaoui/Oxfam GB
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