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Nazma Begum (25), Barishal

I was a teenager when I fell in love. I had no idea about life as I thought life was a fairy tale. I was thirteen when I left home with a sixteen year-old boy. We came to Dhaka and I was not aware of how my parents and brother suffered as we had left them helpless. For two years, my life was like in the cinema. My husband was operating a rickshaw and I started working in a textile factory. We were happy with each other and continued to save for our future. My family never tried to communicate with me and I never contacted them. My husband wanted to become a car driver and for doing so, I had to provide him money for his training. After finishing his training, I also invested in his license and sent money to establish a house near my in-laws in their village. I had never thought about myself because my husband was everything to me, a grave mistake I made at such a tender age. When I became pregnant, everything was going right as I also gave him money for my hospital expense that I got from my factory, which was forty thousand taka. Greed was engraving itself upon his mind and he started fighting with me for five lakh taka with which he wanted to buy his own car. He asked me to go back to my village and bring money from my parents. After giving birth to our only daughter, he had entirely changed. All he wanted was money. At that time, I was also suffering from jaundice and he sent me back to my village for a year. That one year took everything out of me. Though he was in contact with me, he never went to see my daughter or me. I heard from a villager that he married another woman in Dhaka. I was heartbroken and could not believe it at first. I rushed to Dhaka and found him with the woman; he was a changed man. He started beating me like a beast and if the house owner of the slum had not come on time, he could have killed me that day. He took a kitchen cutter to cut my throat. All our teenage love was far-gone and a complete stranger was in front of me. My brother rescued me from the place and we returned to our village. When my family saw that, I was not responding and was suffering from that injury they admitted me to the One-Stop-Crisis Centre (OCC). They filed a case against my husband and I had asked for it. Along with my daughter, I cried for several nights and kept wondering what I did wrong. The police could not do anything as he was out of their district. My in-laws were cruel to tell me everything about how they accepted their second daughter-in-law and cursed me for my reaction and my attempt to get my husband back. One day when my husband returned to the house I built at his place, I rushed to him, with the thought that everything could go back to normal again. That day he beat me severely and fled the village. I realized how naive I was and started to search for work. As I already knew tailoring work, I requested to OCC to receive a sewing machine. One and a half years ago, they gave me the machine and that changed my life and future. Now every day I earn 100 taka by taking local women’s orders. My daughter sometimes misses her father, especially during Eid day, she cries a lot. I do not tell her anything bad about her father, in the belief that one day when she will grow older she will understand everything. Last Eid I got 12 thousand taka orders and by the continual help of my brother, I am able to live a normal life again. The cruelty I have faced in my life is baffling; my heart is broken and nothing can repair it. I hope that I will get my strength back and fight for my daughter to have a dignified life.