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Teyaba’s story

Teyaba experienced severe abuse by her in laws and husband as soon as she got married. It took counselling and moving into their own home, away from the negative influence of inlaws, but they are now working together to build a loving marriage.

Teyaba and Aslam have been married for one year, and are finally enjoying their marriage and life together. Teyaba has discovered that Aslam isn’t a bad man, that he just needed to get away from a toxic home environment to discover what he wants for his home: peace.

As soon as Teyaba moved from Hyderabad to Aslam’s village in Maharashtra her in laws began abusing her. They were possessive of Aslam, and treated her like a laborer. She was forced to work long hours in outdoor labour, coming home only late at night. Because she was working outside the house (even thought it was at their demand), she was accused by her in laws of having an affair with another man. Aslam was agitated by all the hate directed towards Teyaba, and would beat her often out of anger.

Teyaba was allowed no contact with her parents whatsoever. If there was a disagreement over this rule, she was beaten. Finally her parents showed up in Nilango village in Maharastra and found Teyaba’s house. Aslam beat Teyaba in front of her parents that day in anger that they had showed up at his house. Fearing for their daughter’s life, her parents quickly took her back to Hyderabad.

In Hyderabad Teyaba met a PeaceMaker and was able to ask for help. PeaceMakers Shameem and Shehnaz travelled to Aslam’s village home in Maharashtra to counsel him and his family. This visit quickly escalated into an argument with Aslam’s family being very agitated over the issue. The village Sar Paanch (local leader) got involved and joined negotiations about what was to be done. He agreed that Teyaba had been wronged and that she deserved a fair divorce. He promised to personally see that justice was delivered in this form.

Unsatisfied with the option of divorce for Teyaba who never felt like she had a chance with Aslam because of her in laws, Operation PeaceMaker Senior Counselor and peace advocate veteran Noorjahan travelled to Maharashtra to meet with the Sar Paanch.  Noorjahan was able to explain to him that divorce would only mean that the next wife brought into that home would go through the same abuse, and that Teyaba’s traditional background would mean she would face much shame as a divorcee. Noorjahan felt that if the couple were given a change to work together that another path to peace could be realized. She said they needed a chance to rely on each other and not others.

Based on Noorjahan’s advice, the Sar Paanch asked Aslam to move to Hyderabad to live with Teyaba. Moving away from his village would mean that he would not be influenced by his family and that Teyaba would have a lifeline nearby in her parents in case she needed help. Together, Teyaba and Aslam attended 10 counseling sessions in 3 months, far above the norm for clients, but a wonderful indication that they were actively seeking change.

Now the couple are living together in Hyderabad, and are happy. Aslam has a job working in an auto garage and is proud to be supporting his household. Teyaba is no longer weak from long work hours laboring outdoors.

For Teyaba, it was very important that her husband found the humility to apologize to her for all of the abuse she was forced to endure in her first year with him. More importantly, however, Aslam has thanked her for helping him escape his parents’ abusive and aggressive house. He said he felt all kinds of pressures in that household that drove him to undervalue Teyaba and treat her as he did, and he is glad he no longer has that influence in his life. His parents have also now finally changed how they treat Teyaba. No longer viewing her as helpless, they are kind and respectful when they speak to her.

Teyaba has one message for others facing abuse and violence in the home: “The very first time abuse happens, get help. GO and find someone who can help you, guide you, and get you out of it. Don’t wait!”

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