The Many Faces Of Abuse
Both in the village of Ali Nagor in Beani Bazaar and in the District City of Sylhet in Amberkhana.
Women like me are not welcomed by my family. We are subjugated. And such was their collective horror at finding I had set up a British charity and using a room on my late father's estate - without first asking the permission of my elders and the men - my entire base was smashed and looted.
You see men must rule even when my father has died - that's what they taught me. It's this type of thinking that I plan to destroy.
I did this collage so that you can see the amount of people I as a lone woman am battling against. People who are and have chosen to abuse me - either physically, verbally or psychologically - either pro-actively or tacitly.
I was born in London. Shockingly - so were most of my abusive, cruel family.Eight of the people above are British citizens with 4 either born or raised in London from a young age.
This is domestic honour abuse that has gone amok. And I as a British Muslim woman of Bangladesh heritage plan to do something about it. It starts now. With The AMC Petition - to help educate more women on the rights and roles of women in Islam. I want to hear less about hijab - and more about getting Muslim women the benefits, cash and assets they have been promised. After all if they did - I believe it would change society overnight. And I want to re-calibrate the gender imbalance and kick out patriarchy.
First. Let's look at the image above. They look nice people right? Smiling out at you. The part of my logical, rational head sees this - but then my heart remembers. The slaps, the name calling the saliva on my face from the raging spitting anger. The "you are mad' ''how dare you' 'enough' to apparently the 'narcissism I display' as well as of course the slut shaming i have had to endure at their hands - as I refuse to be traditional, dull and choose to live and follow my life and Islam they way I see fit.
My family get angry as I refuse to stop believing in Islam, am unmarried. have started to work in Bangladesh and still continue to challenge their thinking - day in day out. Moreover I demand every penny of the financial rights that is laid out in the Koran. Which if I got - could make me very very well off - and help fund and establish my charitable entities. But all it is controlled by my only brother. The plan is that all wealth, decisions and assets stays in the hands and controlled by my elders and men.
I chewed it over and conclude that my British Bangladesh family continue to exist like this as they have been breeding inside a ghetto bubble which worships and revers men and elders. Bad follows bad. They can be the most cruel, sadistic people because of the how they systematically attempt to destroy people's lives and nobody will blink. Yet if challenged they get get hysterical, inflict abuse or damage or go silent. Two of the members in the image made poor women weep. I have evidence.
Take this video I did recently. Ali Nagor tears. Watch and tweet me to let me know what you think? @yasminisyasmin. Or Facebook MsYiY
Two rural village women weep about the treatment at the hands of my eldest sister. I have demanded my sister apologise. It has fallen in deaf ears. All these people bar one has been sent this film - yet not one has dared to reply or stop the people doing this. Instead they choose to come out in packs and attack me. I am the sheep who woke up - who is walking amongst wolves desperate to take a chunk out of me.
By day my eldest sister Nazmin - works as a solicitor for NC Law. She speaks with an English accent and was born in UK. Will watch Coronation Street and even possibly cheer for England at the World Cup. But she got married to my backward cousin Enamul Haque Choudhury from Bangladesh. But behind closed doors - she along with the men and women in her backward British Bangladesh society choose to undertake honour abuse. Where they will tell a woman off for how they dress. What they say and the selfies they take. You should see the letters she writes to me her younger sister. It is shocking that as a British University graduate she talks like someone from the 17th century.
My family is not alone. More women have gotten in touch with me. I know two girls both in their 30s traumatised at having to tell their Bangladesh Muslim families that they plan to be with white men. We eat - have dinner and at some point their broken smiles will be punctuated by tears. The idea that they can and will be abandoned by their families. However old a woman is the threat of exclusion by those who you have called Mum and Dad all your life can make the most hot shot career woman tremble in fear. I know as it once happened to me - it is why I am glad I can tell women now - you will live and you will get over it. And try them - give them a chance as it is better they know the real you than the secret you hiding as another soul.
You can learn more about my story here.
What I am about though is exposing the truth. I have evidence of every single family member who has undertaken a proactive or tacit act of domestic violence against me. Today I realised every day they are getting more and more out of hand. So now I sing like a canary as people's lives are being hurt. And by destroying my charity base they hurt other people who have missed out on funding.
Now the type of abuse I want to zone in on is called DHV Domestic Honour Violence and VAWG (Violence Against Women & Girls). Slut shaming. Also the way it is done - in the hands of many against one person is shocking. Vast. A sheer battle one must climb as s each will stop to protect the other - and that is how backward ghettoised culture has thrived in UK - even when laws and Islamic law say otherwise - cultural rites and traditions are revered behind secret doors. Like a Medusa's head - you cut off one snake only for two more to appear.
Here are some examples of what it means #BeingAFemaleInBangladesh for families especially originally from in Sylhet region like mine but living in UK:
- Family name is not be shamed - this mantra is everything.
- A woman's virtue and honour must be 100% - no body bothers to tell the men.
- Being told from birth you must leave your father's house to transfer across as a bride to your husband - where often you will be an unpaid slave - you get clothes, food, water but no decision making is allowed.
- Denied inheritance even though Islamic law says otherwise.
- Any form of reference to sexuality is taboo
- You must respect your elders even if they hit you.
- You must never argue with an elder.
- Men are given priority in life - from the food to the wealth - you must shut up and put up.
- Physical violence is welcomed and deemed necessary discipline in correcting the young.
- As a woman you must be noble and hide your shame about abuse inside of you - as Javed pictured above told me - 'you should sit inside a room and read the Koran'
- If you do not obey your family thinks it has every right to smash and destroy your work.
- You are berated as being desperate until you are married.
- No intimate contact with men is allowed before marriage.
- No dating - straight to marriage - after a few meetings.
My family's style of abuse is twisted, evil, horrid, insidious, collective, entrenched as well as all the above. All done by minions who serve the elders and the men to ensure families like mine kick out women like me. As nobody wants to change the rules and modernise. Abuse is undertaken by sociopaths who mix freely amongst British society. Most of all my family are all educated - went to University. Who wear ordinary clothes - do ordinary jobs and then - collectively sit down and decide to bully a woman like me. Why - because I dare to speak what no woman has spoken of. I dare to do what no woman has done yet. And I dare to challenge the men and elders in my family for being twisted, cruel and collectively harming other people. You see because I do all these things - all the family members above believe that if I am shoved, or screamed at, or called names even if my charity research base is destroyed - it is ok and acceptable. If I ask for help, I am told no help will come as I have been 'impossible' and 'broken rules' by bringing 'shame and dishonour onto my family name'. Or my family will stay silent and turn away - even when you have told them you are being assaulted and in fear. They each have full knowledge that a woman like me is abused. They accept it because deep down they believe women like me - should be treated this way.
Moreover the code of conduct, mode of operandi is consensus - dare to break it and you get ostracised, excluded and people will pile in. The problem is they are like birds of a feather flock together. Or in my case my charity research base in Bangladesh smashed, looted and destroyed. A message that my work is not welcomed and that I am not able to use the land - which incidentally is partly mine given it is my late father's estate. As we are Muslims daughters and widowed wife are guaranteed a portion. But of course as patriarchy rules and there is little evidence of the strict Shariah laws that enshrine financials rights to women in societies like mine - women never get these. They are brainwashed into never taking them. After all it is not in the interests of a bad Muslim man to hand it out - as like the chicken who sits on the egg - as long as he does - he sits on and control the wealth. Release the egg - the egg will get split - leaving greedy man and his grubby fingers bereft of assets.
So women remain on the brink of financial poverty even in 2015. They dare not stand alone as to do so would risk and incur ridicule. But I do. And I will. And the greatest irony for me is how in 7th century these rights to property and land was given to them. Which is why I started the AMC Petition here - to educate and inform British Muslim women on their rights and roles in Islam.
A new Action Aid report out this week stated that in cases of abuse, Governments are failing abuse victims as they are unable to get the help they need. It says: "“many governments are directly perpetrating violence against women, while failing to address cultures of impunity. And rather than supporting women in their struggle, many states are closing down the civil society space which all civil society, including women’s organisations, need in order to be effective.”
It is this I want to change. British Government must do more. Fund more. And get to us women more - from behind the closed doors.
Until then - with a heavy heart I happily share images of my family - who today mean nothing to me and need to know I have not given up the battle. I will never give up the fight - until the world knows what they have done.
I only have to think about the orphan boy whose plans for education my have destroyed or the tears on the shoulders from the village women. Of how female refuges in London are not free - one must have to pay for these. And how every authority is failing women like me because they are unable to address the problem at grassroots. And why even if today I am violated and abused in UK and internationally - I will do something about it.
Wait - I have done something about it. I showed my family's faces - with a rally cry of "if you want to come and abuse me - you will now have to step up and do it publicly - in front of all the world."
So my family. Please do not be shy. Come along and debate it out with me. Why did you destroy my research base? Why has my own brother stolen my inheritance? Why does he wear a beard and do his Muslim prayers but ignores the Quran. Why does my mother tell me that her son should inherit everything?
I have strange feeling though you have suddenly gone quiet.