Ruby's Story
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I try to fill this role but there is no acknowledgment, no appreciation just the obligation of duty. So I refuse. Women are not allowed to refuse and say no to performing their duties.

As a Pakistani woman, I am socially conditioned to serve members of my family at the expense of my own happiness. Though my family is different. They help me become the first female Mechanical Engineer in my community against all resistance. Men call me slut but I continue to work hard.

When I get married, I am full of hopes and anticipation, but these dreams are shattered when I realise that I am married into an abusive household. I am expected to be a sex slave to my husband, and to serve them endlessly and never complain.

I try to fill this role but there is no acknowledgment, no appreciation just the obligation of duty. So I refuse. Women are not allowed to refuse and say no to performing their duties. What follows completely takes me by surprise. My husband becomes completely indifferent to my existence. He stops “seeing” me, unless he is having sex with me. His family notices this and they stop seeing me too.

I realise that I am married into an abusive household. I am expected to be a sex slave to my husband, and to serve them endlessly and never complain.

I walk around the house in the hope that someone will notice me but no one does. When I enter or exit rooms no one looks up. I cry, and no one heeds. To my husband and his family, I have ceased to exist.

I don’t know where to go. I am desperately lonely. I want the earth to open its womb and climb back inside. I go on top of the roof and cry. There is no one in the world who knows what’s going on for me. I don’t want to burden my family with my problems.

The only relief happens when I am asleep – unable to feel.

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Maybe, this is how things are meant to be and I am just not grateful enough. After all, isn’t it the norm in the circle of women I grew up around?

I go to my bed and pretend to sleep. Soon, I hear him come to bed and my body tenses up. His hands slowly move down my stomach and inside my underpants. I am not ready and I don’t want to do it. I want to say no to him but something inside me doesn’t allow me to. The sense of duty is too strong.

When he enters me, I cringe with a sharp burning sensation and it takes me a split second to settle back into the present moment. I feel as if his penis would penetrate my organs as well. As he moves faster, I try to breathe harder and make moaning noises. It doesn’t take long for him to ejaculate. He recovers his breath, then lifts his head and says “Look at what I have to do to make you happy!”

I am stunned. Why does he say that? I ask him to say something nice to me but I don’t think he quite understands what I am asking.

I start to question my feelings. Maybe, he is actually working hard to make me happy and I am just not seeing it.

Maybe, this is how things are meant to be and I am just not grateful enough. After all, isn’t it the norm in the circle of women I grew up around?

In my desperation for some love, I start having psychotic attacks. When I am cowered in the corner and scratching myself, he does come to me and gives me a reassuring hug. Not a heavy price to pay for a hug I think.

I don’t want to forgive. I don’t want to be with him, but again my “woman” training gets in the way. I agree to give us a second chance but is no good. Dead flowers can’t blossom again.

I have been having recurring Urinary Tract Infections for the past three years and I need to undergo surgery. My husband is too busy so a friend comes to support and keep me company whilst I recover in the hospital. He doesn’t know much about my anguish but I feel there is nothing left in me, I no longer can hold on.

I cry and I cry and I cry.

My friend doesn’t stop me. He sits close to me and comforts me. He tells me a story of a goddess who could tame lions. Then he kneels in front of me, asks me to hold my hand out and then kisses the back of my hand and tells me “You are a Goddess, you don’t need anything”

There is such power and conviction in his eyes and in his manner that I stop. I feel that I am yanked out of the state that I am in. Everything feels different suddenly. Even though I am sitting on my hospital bed, I feel I am standing tall. The queen inside of me has suddenly awakened.

From this moment onwards, I am no longer desperate. I feel strong and powerful. I realise that I don’t need my husband. A month later, I ask for divorce. This completely shocks my husband. His indifference vanishes. He suddenly realises that he has lost me. He apologizes, promises to change his behaviour and asks me for forgiveness…

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It is now 2017 - 15 years later and I am living in Australia. I have found love, I have found friends, I have travelled and have truly given life a go.

I don’t want to forgive. I don’t want to be with him, but again my “woman” training gets in the way. I agree to give us a second chance but is no good. Dead flowers can’t blossom again.

We sign a mutual matrimonial settlement agreement. I waive all my claims to any of his property or money. I return all the gifts that were given to me by his family.

Life has given me a second chance and I vow not to waste it. I promise myself to always live to the fullest and always be at my best.

It is now 2017 - 15 years later and I am living in Australia. I have found love, I have found friends, I have travelled and have truly given life a go. I am grateful for all that I have and I am amazed that I have found so much blessing in life after having come from such a traumatic past.

Sometimes, a single moment can change life forever.

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