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Update on Rascha

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Anybody remember my former student (Lebanese) who was forced into an arranged marriage to a guy who was beating her? The one I tried to convince that it was in her best interests to "disappear" with the help of a women's organization? Well, she just called me, for the first time in almost a year. I'm putting this in IMO because the subject-matter is a bit delicate. She's still married to the guy, and he's still raping and beating her on a regular basis. She married him in a legal Lebanese ceremony, and women aren't allowed to divorce under Lebanese law - only a man can divorce his wife, not vice-versa. She claims that prevents her from divorcing him in Belgium, where they live, or in Germany, where she has citizenship. I know that's not true. When I told her that, she said her family would kill her if she "dishonored" them by doing so. That I believe.
To make a long story short, he's unemployed now, and doesn't qualify for unemployment benefits or welfare because he was self-employed. She's not "allowed" to work. She had a job in a courthouse, but was forced to give it up (I guess it was too much "protection" for her). He has her calling up all her friends, relatives, former teachers, etc., to borrow money. She gets a beating if she doesn't manage to do so.
I told her I wouldn't lend her any money to give to him, but I would help her to leave this guy. She's still afraid to, but I'm hoping she'll think about it. Maybe she's desperate enough this time.
What would you do in this situation? I feel bad about "letting her down", but she's in an impossible situation, thanks to her own family, and I firmly believe that she has to leave him and her family in order to survive in the long run.
Sorry for venting.
post #2 of 11
Tricia, you are doing so good just showing concern for her.
She is in a HORRIBLE condition and forget what her family would do to her! HE'LL kill her if she doesn't get out! If not physically, he will kill her soul; it sounds like he almost has anyway.
The best thing you can do is BE THERE for her. Let her know that she can talk to you. Let her know what her options are. Convince her to at least go see a victim advocate with a local woman's shelter (if one is available in her area) so she can develop a safety plan. I would imagine that local domestic violence groups would have some wonderful options for her and I am pretty sure than many governments would allow a BATTERED woman to divorce a husband. That is SICKENING about the Lebanese government- this is 2005 for Pete's sake. She should be able to divorce her husband for any reason she wants!
She is in a very bad way. She will need counseling for the physical abuse, the mental anguish, and the sexual assaults. If she is not ready to get out of the relationship (the average battered woman will eave 6-7 times before she leaves for good), she at least needs some safety planning.
Please keep us updated. I'll be glad to help in any other way I can.
post #3 of 11
While I'm certainly no expert on these things, I have to agree with you, Tricia. To have come through with $$, would only perpetuate a bad cycle, one that she needs to be out of. I think you're doing exactly the right thing. Please keep us posted.
post #4 of 11
Cheers to you Tricia for getting involved, you're doing the right thing.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
I just hope there is an update - I couldn't get through to her last year, so she may not call again. She doesn't want to break off all contact with her parents, which is really the only "way out" for her. I'm just hoping she'll contact me again - their phone numbers have been changed, and she's not "allowed" to give the new ones out. For that matter, my phone numbers have been changed, but she got them from another teacher. I did email the German Embassy in Brussels - one guy there did his best to help her before, so maybe he'll get involved again.
post #6 of 11
I'm so sorry about this situation. Hopefully, with your support she will be able to leave him. I just can't imagine wanting my daugther to be married to a man who can't even keep a job. I would think that begging would be dishonoring- even if her being abused was not. You would think that the fact that he can't even provide for her financially would be grounds for divorce, but I guess I really have no idea how that works in her culture.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I came across this article about arranged marriages and honor killings in today's International Herald Tribune - it says it all: http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/06/...s/pakistan.php
post #8 of 11
It is the ultimate irony that they are called "honor killings" when there is absolutely no honor in them at all .
post #9 of 11
I'm glad you contacted the embassy, I can't see that you could do much more without her being ready to escape. I can't imagine how helpless you must feel to know what is happening and to be unable to help her get away from this evil man. Of course, once she is ready to escape, the fact that you are there to help her puts her far ahead of so many other women in the same situation who have no one looking out for them. I applaud you for trying to help.
post #10 of 11
an abused women will only leave when she is ready. The only thing you can do is let her know you are there for her and let her know when she leaves you will do all that you can, other than that there is nothing you can do. I hope she is able to be free one day.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Rascha hasn't called me. I talked to somebody in the organization that had set up an "escape plan" for her last year - they're still willing to help, but she hasn't contacted them. I may have to write her off as a lost cause, which really hurts. These girls are in an impossible situation. In order to escape, they have to cut off all contact with their families, and face very uncertain futures, always having to look over their shoulders. If they give up, their futures are bleak - they're slaves to their husbands and husbands' families. There are laws against arranged marriages that are supposed to protect them, but if they take advantage of them, they're often marked for death.
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