Agony Aunty: How should I proceed in my abusive marriage?

Dear Asian Mums Net,

I’ve been married for 3 years now. We moved from Karachi to Manchester last year and the change has taken its toll on my family. When we first arrived, my husband and I were busy setting up house. Now that we’re settled he has become increasingly restless and irritable, specifically about his unhappiness at work. Instead of viewing me as a support, he sees me as the root of his problems and tells me so. He has become emotionally and physically abusive. We have two young children under the age of five and they have thankfully been kept away from his temper, but I don’t know for how much longer. I cannot bring myself to leave him and go back to Pakistan. My family would never accept it. What should I do?

Annonymous

This is an incredibly complex issue that requires professional advice. By admitting there is a problem, you have taken the first positive step. Please know you are neither to blame or responsible for his destructive behavior. Nothing makes these actions acceptable. Although you have shared a good deal of information, I’m unaware of the strength of your local network. You have options if your network is vast with many familial connections. There is always the option to visit family for a period of time in another part of the country. If such a network is small or nonexistent, please know this: what your husband is doing is illegal. You can seek refuge with the state. That said, you need to be prepared to break all ties if necessary. I will not put words in your mouth or make decisions for you, but it is best to figure out what it is you want. Once you know, you can take the necessary steps in alleviating this awful situation. Finally, because we’re given so little space to address this obviously grave issue, please contact your local Women’s Aid (http://www.womensaid.org.uk). They will pair you with a counselor who is equipped to deal with your situation head-on. All the best to you and your family. Please write us soon.

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