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Nasima Akhter (30), Barishal

I never thought my life would turn into hell soon after my marriage. When I got married to my husband, I was in love with him. He was a law student and because of his family background, my family accepted this marriage. My family gifted everything from furniture to gold ornaments; all that a groom usually gets at a wedding. But on my wedding day I was not aware that the man seated beside me had the soul of a beast. My parents were not rich but they never treated me miserably the way my in-laws behaved with me. My mother-in-law beat me from day one. I was astonished and after hearing my complaint, my husband beat me twice as much. He showed his real face very early. I could not believe my eyes when he kept beating me with his belt. All they wanted was dowry, money and then they were asking for more money. I was living in a shell. I lost my ability to think and talk. I was afraid of his footsteps; I was afraid when my in-laws showed up in front of me. I could not sleep because of pain for months and I could not tell these things to my family. Meanwhile my parents died and I could not put pressure on my brother or sister. During such a hard time, I became pregnant. My husband’s torture became unbearable. I lost my senses one day. He did not care about his unborn child. After the birth of my daughter, I realized I could not take this anymore. But in 2007 he surpassed all limits of cruelty when I asked him to bring groceries for the house. He beat me with a scale, which broke my hand. If a neighbour had not arrived in time, he would have killed me that night. I was admitted to the One-Stop-Crisis Centre (OCC) of Shere Bangla Medical college hospital. I filed a case against him. But I was so naïve when he apologized. I asked for mutual consideration and requested a private organization, the Women Lawyer Association to settle our case and I wanted to go back to his house. This was his trick so that I would withdraw the case. Then he divorced me. It is true that women have to suffer from birth to death. My soul was bleeding and I was holding my only daughter to my chest. I realized I have to fight for my daughter. I learned tailoring work while staying with my own family. In 2015, I received a sewing machine, which has changed my life. Now I give training classes to trainees. Up until now, I have trained more than five students. It takes three months for training and I charge 4000 taka for giving such training. I give discounts to the poor girls who are like me and help them to find clothing orders. Now my daily income is 250 taka. I do not have to ask for help from anyone. My daughter is going to school and I am looking out for her bright future. There was a time when I thought there is no point to live anymore. But that time when my daughter touched my finger and looked at me, I regained my courage. I am living for my daughter now; I will not let anyone destroy my daughter’s life. My entire dream is now her happiness.