A struggle for independence and justice


Najla fights for independence and the right to be a mother

Najla, a 35 year old mother, looks back on a life full of injustice, struggle and abuse.

The momentous and enduring trouble started for Najla when she was 14 years old and got married to her cousin in order to settle a family dispute concerning a piece of land. The marriage, that she never desired, changed her life forever, as from that moment on she shared the fate of many women, who became victims of family/tribal settlement issues.

Immediately after the enforced marriage, Najla was beaten and humiliated by her husband and his family and after seven days of this alliance she was thrown out of the family home to fend for herself and the husband reclaimed the land that was the reason behind the marriage.
Najla had no option but to return to her own family where the abuse continued, she was beaten by her father and brothers for in their mind she had brought dishonor on the family for being evicted from the marital home by her husband. During this stressful period of time Najla also discovered that she was expecting a child and tried in vain to return to her husband. This was based on her fear of further scandal concerning her pregnancy and the disgrace she would bring on her family, and not the desire to reunite with her husband.

The husband claimed the child wasn’t his and accused Najla of being unfaithful, but Najla persisted and after taking legal action and a DNA test being performed, the child was proved to be her husband’s son and so she returned to his home, not as a wife but as the mother of their child and a maid forced to work for long hours every day.
Despite continuous abuse and humiliation, she remained in the family home and eventually she discovered that a second child was on the way, this news brought about her being thrown out of the house again by her husband and Najla begging her family to allow her to stay with them.

Following 8 months of living with her family, her husband appeared at her house and forcibly took the two children away from her, she pleaded and begged but no help was offered or given.
With the assistance of her uncle, Najla once again went to court and demanded that her children be returned to their rightful place and that a divorce be granted. The husband accused her of being insane and not being able to take care of his children correctly, however, after 7 court hearings and being able to prove that the husbands allegations were untrue, Najla triumphed by winning her case and being granted full custody of the children.

However, Najla’s suffering didn’t end there, the abuse and humiliation in her family’s home still continued and Najla tried every option and all resources to ask for help for herself and her children. Every day Najla visited the local council and it was here that Najla learned about RIRP, and that our organization was planning to build shelters for those in need. She delivered the required application documents to the council with her hopes rising that her agony would come to an end.

Today Najla is living with her two children in the shelter constructed by RIRP. Finally she could leave some of the sadness and desperation behind her. What had happened to her cannot be undone but having her own home, living independently from her family, having her children by her side makes Najla thankful and happy for the help and assistance that she received.
RIRP is tremendously pleased and proud of being able to help Najla and bring happiness and hope to a person so desperately in need.

More information:

  • On the situation of Syrian woman who fled from violence in their families. An initiative of UNDP in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

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