Our Stories: Tayyaba & Aslam
Tayyaba and Aslam* have been married for one year, and are finally enjoying their marriage and life together. Tayyaba 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 Tayyaba moved from Hyderabad to Aslam’s village in Maharashtra her in laws began abusing her. They were possessive of Aslam, and treated Tayyaba like a laborer. They forced her to work long hours in outdoor labour, coming home only late at night. Because she was working outside the house at their behest, she was accused by her in laws of having an affair with another man. Aslam was agitated by all the hate directed towards Tayyaba, and would beat her often out of anger.
Tayyaba was allowed no contact with her parents whatsoever. If there was a disagreement over this rule, she was beaten. One day her parents showed up in Nilango village in Maharastra and found Tayyaba’s marital house. Aslam beat Tayyaba 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 Tayyaba 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 hurling threats and abuses at the PeaceMakers and in regard to Tayyaba. The village Sar Paanch (local leader) got involved and joined negotiations about what was to be done. He agreed that Tayyaba had been wronged and that she deserved a fair divorce. He promised to personally see that justice was delivered in this form.
Tayyaba, unsatisfied with the option of divorce, and feeling that she never had a chance with Aslam because of her in laws, asked the My Choices team to help her create another possibility. My Choices Senior Counselor and peace advocate veteran, Noorjahan, travelled along with the PeaceMakers 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 Tayyaba’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 suggested that the young couple needed a chance to rely on each other without being subjected to extreme expectations from others.
Based on Noorjahan’s advice, the Sar Paanch asked Aslam to move to Hyderabad to live with Tayyaba. Moving away from his village would mean that he would not be influenced by his family and that Tayyaba would have a lifeline nearby in her parents in case she needed help. Together, Tayyaba 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.
Tayyaba and Aslam have found peace, and they are both enjoying the results. 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. Tayyaba is no longer weak from long work hours laboring outdoors, and is enjoying getting to know her husband. Aslam thanks Tayyaba for taking the brave step to convince him to leave his parent's home. He realizes that it was because of their influence that he was held back from being his own man, getting to know Tayyaba, and working with her on their life together. He is proud to have his own life and home with Tayyaba, and says he never wants to move back to his parent's home. His parents have also come to respect Tayyaba, and have never since treated her poorly. They know that if they mistreat Tayyaba, they may completely lose their son's respect. Aslam respects Tayyaba, and this has changed everything for them.
*Aslam was unfortunately unavailable to come with Tayyaba to help share their story.