My Experience with Divorce
This is the personal story of Hiyam, from the Karaz community. We would like to thank her for her bravery in sharing her experience of divorce with us--from how it affect her, what she went through, how society views it, and what she's learned.
I accept the fact that I’m divorced.
It’s been three years since my last marriage. It started off so well, I met my ex-husband in my first year in university, and we got married right after we finished our studies. At that point he was everything I ever wished for; he was calm, collected, funny, caring and handsome – my friends loved him, my family adored him and agreed on our marriage right away. I loved him.
The first year of marriage felt like a dream and my life seemed as if it were too good to be true – but this soon changed as every dream has to come to an end. He was soon fired from the job that he seemed to adore, and could not find any other company to hire him, and in that period our whole relationship was torn apart. He became aggressive, abusive, easily agitated, and cold – he became a monster. This went on for months, and at some point I was unable to handle living with him and I ended up packing my stuff and running away to my parents’ house. There are things I didnt’ have to do. I eventually got him to divorce me.
Leaving him did not make my life any easier. I was able to escape all the pain and abuse but I also ended up receiving a fate that cannot be described as better… being shunned and abused by everyone in society.
My family changed the way the treated me, they became very strict and cold as if they were ashamed of me. At first I didn’t understand why but with time it was clear – how could they not be? Everyone was talking about the incident. Friends, family members, neighbors were all gossiping and talking about me endlessly.
“I wonder what’s wrong with her”
“Why did he have to divorce her?”
“God help her parents”
“There must be a reason for him to divorce her”
“How is she going to get married again?”
Everyone kept on and on. My parents restricted my movement, and would interrogate me every time I left the house. My brother cut me off completely, he stopped visiting my parents’ house where I stayed, and my sisters stopped taking me out or introducing me to anyone they know – it was like I was invisible. My so-called friends weren’t any more forgiving. I was basically neglected and deserted by everyone that I knew.
For years I wondered and questioned why all of this happened to me of all people. I spent most of my time hating myself and my life. I knew that no man was brave enough to approach me or to even want to be with me if they knew about my past. Society is fixated on how it perceives honor. To our society being divorced meant that that I did something wrong before or after I got married. To my family being divorced meant that I was not a virgin anymore – that I can do anything without them knowing, and thus causing a scandal. It seems like every woman that goes through divorce eventually hits this dead end. Throughout these years, I created a focus group for women of the same problems where they can recover from all what happened. At that point I decided that I will take a new path – to start my life again on my own, and I got my confidence back. Now understand that I am not the problem and that I am not incomplete, I’m not broken, and I’m not “damaged goods”. I am divorced – I am not flawed.