“The abuse started with foul language. Soon, he started hitting me. It got worse day by day. Sometimes, he would beat me so badly that I would be unconscious for hours. I begged for my school tuition, even the food. Not having any friends or family in an alien country, I accepted that this was what my life was going to be.
I married this man in an arranged marriage when I was 17. He lived in the United States and had me apply a student visa to come to him as I was studying at the time. It seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime back then. It was not. It was my worst nightmare. The abuse went on until his mother kicked me out of the house. I was diagnosed with insomnia, PTSD, depression and had no idea what to do next. My family wanted me to come back to Pakistan, but I was afraid of becoming an outcast – the girl who got kicked out of her husband’s house. I decided to get back on my feet on my own. I didn’t have a work permit so I started doing odd jobs for 80 hours a week and continued my studies, barely sleeping more than two hours a night.
Until I bought a cheap car to call home, I stayed on the streets and in shelters. I graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2013 and today I am a software engineer. I am engaged to a man who is also my best friend. He makes me happy and makes it easier to forget my past. The reason behind me sharing this is that at times we don’t see what future has to offer and we lose hope. We shouldn’t. Nothing is impossible – impossible itself says “I’m possible” which means you can have happiness in your life despite your past. However, this is only possible of you let it go and focus on the future.”
[Disclaimer: Original picture not attached due to privacy concerns]