Benezir was just 20 and a mother of a one-year-old son when her husband divorced her using the word ‘talaq’. This was before the Supreme Court of India declared the practice unconstitutional. Come to think of it, triple talaq destroyed a lot of women’s lives, not just because they had no say in the decision-making around their marriages but also because the mental health toll it took on them made life even more challenging living in Indian society.
In conversation with SheThePeople, Benezir Sahil recalls the devastating phase she went through during her divorce, how she overcame the challenges post it, and why choosing to live her life her way is what matters to her most now.
Benezir Sahil Journey
“It was in the year 2014 before the Supreme Court of our country declared it unconstitutional. I got triple talaq from my husband and my life fell apart. It did not only change my life forever but it slipped away my son’s happiness too. I heard these words for the first time at the mere age of 20 with a one-year-old baby in my lap. My life was stuck with the words ‘talaq, talaq, talaq.’ I just didn’t know what to do.
In 2012, I got married at 19 in an arranged marriage without any long-term formal education. I couldn’t even complete my education. Within a year after the marriage, I gave birth to my son. During my pregnancy, I had severe health issues so I went to my maternal home to stay with my mother for a few days.
When I came back, my ex-husband wasn’t home. He came back home after a few days and refused to talk to me. Silence and irky comments became regular. To my every question, he retorted harshly. He threatened me not to ask any questions and that was the end of my peace. He started acting strange every single day. I was humiliated and beaten up. It all ended the day he said Talaq three times and ended everything.
I was told to leave his home immediately and within a few months he married someone else for the third time. My body hadn’t even recovered from childbirth and I couldn’t help myself falling into the mental trauma of all that was happening to me. I completely had no idea what life held for me when I left that house. I did not receive much support from my parents either. I was heartbroken. But as it goes, ‘when one door closes; another opens.’ Indeed. And a voice within me said if I got scared or gave up, what would happen to my son? I have to live and make our lives worthwhile.
With the help of my friends, I somehow completed my education first and then opened a small prep school because innocent smiles have always filled me with courage. And today, with the same courage I rise every single day. I am a proud teacher to many kids just like my son and every moment of my life is worth living! I was proud when nobody stood up for me; the woman inside me decided not to give up. Now, I’m rising and raising my biggest strength, my son!”
Narrated by Benezir Sahil. Written and edited by Misha, Team SheThePeople
Suggested reading: How A Second Chance To Love Empowered Domestic Violence Survivor Indu Gopal