Our stories: Sofia Begum
Sofia Begum has been married for five years, and has two beautiful daughters aged 3 years and 6 months. Until recently, she and her husband had never been able to communicate with each other, and Sofia lived in fear of his outbursts.
Her husband was always suspicious of her. He would blame her for anything that went wrong at home, and pick fights with her. These fights would often end in Sofia receiving a beating. He also refused to provide maintenance for her and their daughters, and would leave her at home alone while he pursued affairs with other women.
Sofia was desperate for help. She was tired of going a week at a time without food, no money for shopping, and two little girls to look after. She was so ashamed that she had to continually request food from her neighbors and parents. Married women are not supposed to make their family issues known to others. This alone is grounds for divorce in her community.
Sofia had one friend who told her that she could get help. Her friend’s mother was a PeaceMaker, and she encouraged Sofia to share her trouble with her.
It took 4 sessions with this PeaceMaker for Sofia’s husband to change. They together have completed 9 sessions of counseling and Sofia is delighted by the change. She says the catalyst of change in her husband is due to two things. She laughs as she says that is a combination of taking ownership and pride in his family, and a healthy fear of getting into trouble with the PeaceMakers. A PeaceMaker often visits their house to make sure that the family is happy.
Sofia says that she isn’t satisfied with the change yet, and still wants counseling for her family. “We have only made 50% of the progress needed. My husband help the family because of our daughters”, she says, “But I want him to get to know me, understand me, and care for me too.” She says over time she thinks they can achieve this.
When asked what she would tell other women facing abuse at home she says, “Go with counseling. Divorce isn’t the only option, and you CAN find a different way. Go find a counselor!”
Sofia and her husband may still have 50% of their relationship journey yet ahead of them, but they have discovered something that has made all of this possible: Hope.