25-Year-Old American Forgave Her Parents For The Marriage With Her Cousin She Was Forced Into 10 Years Ago
January 9, 2019 18:03 By Fabiosa
Naila Amin was a young American woman wearing pink velvet suits. She had an adorable laugh and wanted to be a policewoman after growing up. However, her life was violently changed. At the age of 15, she became a trapped wife in Pakistan. Ten days after the forced marriage, she rebelled by running away for her life to the streets of Islamabad.
— NYC radio reporter/podcast producer Jon Kalish (@kalishjon) July 31, 2016
There were a few women in the street that afternoon in January 2005. Naila hurried her steps when she noticed many men watching her suspiciously. She was wearing her bridal attire: red dress and hands painted with henna. It seemed strange that she was not with her husband.
She thought she could stay at a hotel to stop those strange looks, but they refused to give her a room, as she wasn’t with a man. Naila considered getting into a taxi and going to another city, while her family was looking for her everywhere.
Naila’s decision to escape the marriage with her 28-year-old cousin meant that she dishonored her family. According to the traditions, such betrayal is punishable by death.
Naila didn’t take the taxi because she would have to tell the driver to take her to the United States embassy, and it is very dangerous for a woman to say that in Pakistan.
She thought it might not be that easy to get to the embassy in a region where Americans are frequently abducted.
Wrapped in a shawl she bought from a stranger in her villa, Naila mingled with the crowd at a supermarket to call an uncle she trusted.
Her uncle took her back to her husband’s house, while she begged him to call Child Protective Services in the United States if something happened to her. He promised everything would be fine.
Unfortunately, everything went wrong. Once they arrived, her husband loaded a gun, entered the car, hit Naila and, instead of showing gratitude to the uncle, accused him of being Naila’s accomplice.
The uncle decided to resort to the authorities. However, the government of the United States couldn’t interfere in a legally recognized marriage in another country. The Child Protection Services could do nothing for Naila when her husband punished her that night.
In front of his in-laws and his mother, he took Naila for her long hair and dragged her from one side of the house to another. He did it repeatedly despite his mother’s desperate screaming. He didn’t stop; he hit her so hard she began to lose her vision.
Later that night, he raped her, beginning the habit of inhumane violation that continued the following months.
Throughout the marriage, Naila tried to escape twice more, but failed and was punished even more severely, which left her nose broken.
The suffering was not only physical, but also mental, since her husband was a psychologist. He told Naila lies and assured her she had no control over her body because he possessed her. With her cell phone and passport being kept under lock, Naila gave up.
During some nights, she stared at the rifle he had in the room, thinking maybe she should kill him, but she never dared to do it. On another occasion, she drank chlorine, but it was not enough to kill her.
During the fifth month of Naila’s marriage, her parents returned to the United States. Upon the return, her mother was arrested and charged with kidnapping. Her father had no choice but to ask Naila’s husband to let her return to the United States. She could not believe it when she received the call.
On the way to the airport, her husband warned her she could not sleep in another house or with another person during her stay in the United States, but she didn’t care and thought:
I will never see you again.
Upon her arrival at the New York airport, the pilot said no one could get out of their seats until Naila was safe.
A team of 20 officers, including social workers and Child Protection Services staff, waited for Naila.
The young woman was taken to the Medical Center of the Nassau University, where a medical team reviewed her physical and mental health.
— MALA (@MALANational) September 30, 2015
The next morning, she woke up with the sun shining brightly on her face – it was one of the happiest mornings; the first in a long time when she woke up without her husband.
Ten years later, Naila looks through the window of her living room, the same room where she argued with her parents so many times. She returned to that house after turning 18, as she reconciled with her parents.
Today, Naila suffers from post-traumatic stress. She has anxiety attacks and constant flashbacks. Just a year ago, during one of such attacks, she shouted to her mother:
Why? Why did you put me in that situation?
However, she assures the therapy helped her overcome the trauma, and in January, she even talked on the phone with her ex-husband:
I greeted him, and after a silence, he answered to my greeting. I apologized for breaking his heart; I told him if he had known how to treat me with love maybe I would have fallen in love with him as well.
He took a part of my soul that I will never have back, but I had already forgiven him.
Her parents moved back to Pakistan, where her father set up a hospital for the poor and asked Naila to visit them. At first, she was reluctant to the request, but soon understood she had to visit them after graduating.
My parents apologized, and I accepted them. I hope the stories of all those who live in difficult situations like me have happy endings. Unfortunately, many end with mental illness, depression or even death.
In this new stage of life, she plans to attend Molly College to study for her master’s degree in social work and specialize in forced marriages.
This story is a great lesson for all of us to fight for our dreams, but above all, for our freedom, which is one of the most important things that every human being deserves to have.