I ran away from home after my parents forced me into marriage when I was 19
By Guest Contributor
15th August 2018

I'm a Muslim girl of Pakistani heritage, who left home because my parents forced me to marry someone I didn't want.

I was 19 at the time. This is my story.

It all started this summer after I finished college, my parents sit me down and tell me, 'you're getting married you've a choice this cousin or that one'.

So I seeing no way out just said yeah whatever one you want.

Fast forward to a month later the wedding preparations start and I panicked realizing it was all real so I begged my parents I didn't wanna marry this dude, but they wouldn't listen, would go on about how they knew better.

So up until the wedding day I kept begging but they wouldn't listen to me. So I end up married. I actually didn't realize it was all happening until that moment. So after the wedding I run back home and tell my parents 'please don't make me go back i can't do it'.

Of course they didn't listen they told me. If I wanted a divorce I'll be forced, locked at home and not allowed to go uni or anywhere since I brought the family shame.

So I told them I would leave and they said fine but you'll be dead to us and won't see anyone from this family ever.

So I was confused I actually thought, OK let's give this person a chance. But I couldn't bring myself to do it so I begged my parents but they said the same thing:
1. You're a disgrace to this family
2. If you leave you're dead to us and we to you

They gave me another option: if I wanted to divorce I could, but I'd have to bring someone else and marry him and leave because they couldn't keep me at home forever. I was a burden... unfortunately there was no other guy so I couldn't take that route

I was desperate and suicidal and I didn't know what to do. I told my parents about how many times I tried to kill myself to end the misery. All my dad could say was: We'd be much better off with you dead.

At this point I still felt maybe I should try giving the marriage a chance for my parents. But when the thought of sharing the same house and bed went through my head I couldn't do it.

And that's when I decided I didn't have any other option left than to leave. I packed my belongings and moved into uni accommodation.

I'll be starting my first year soon. I pray everyday to Allah that I find a way back to reconcile with my family and put everything right. I don't leave for freedom to party, drink, date but because I wanted to study, I wanted a degree. But that has cost me my family and their Izzat.

I still have hope in Allah that he'll set everything right in this world, but that's how we come and go from this duniya. Allah is enough for me. Insh'Allah he'll set everything right.

It has been the most difficult step to take in my life, having to choose between my family and my degree, I just hope this step I took which separated me from my entire family proves to be the right one for me and I don't end up on the streets like my parents said.

I still think maybe if I give the marriage a chance it could've worked out, because they said they only wanted what was best for me. But I know for a fact I couldn't have, because the guy is too conservative and restrictions would've been put on me.

And honestly when I meet people I don't tell anyone about my situation because I'm alone, I've got no family it would put me at risk. And I worry they would laugh at me or shame me for running away.

What's even more difficult is thinking about all the Eids and Ramadans I'll be spending alone, but Insh'Allah I ask you all to keep me in your prayers and pray it works out for me.

Thank you for reading.

If you are in a similar situation and need help, you can contact the Forced Marriage Unit. They are trained to be sensitive in these circumstances.

This was published with permission of the author. She wanted to remain anonymous.

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