Adelah, 50, lives in Herat. She has eleven children.
Herat — I was just twelve years old when my father arranged my marriage and sent me to my mother-in-law’s house. I was too young to even talk with my parents and tell them that I did not want this marriage.
I am uneducated because in our area it was considered very bad for girls to go to school and study. Because of this culture my father did not allow me to go to school. Going to school was considered bad and underage marriage was considered good. Everyone tried to marry their daughters very young.
My family lived in the city, but my husband’s family lived in a far district in a village. Their life was completely different from mine. Their home chores were different and when they asked me to do some work I did not understand what to do so my mother-in-law complained about me to my husband.
She said I was not doing the chores and I was very lazy. So my husband hit me. I was crying and told him that I am not lazy but I don’t know how to do such kinds of works. Please do not hit me. I was hurt, but he did not hear me. For several years his mother complained against me and then he hit me. My husband said to me, “You are my mother’s servant. She should be happy with you.”
When I turned thirteen, my child was born. Big problems began to happen. I was not able to take care of myself, and now I had to take care of a baby. I faced lots of problems and my mother-in-law did not help me. I did not know how to clothe the baby or feed the baby so the baby was crying. I did not know what to do, so I was crying also. I asked my neighbors to help me.
Now I have mental problems and I think all of my sicknesses are because of underage marriage. I was a very young and uneducated mother and my problems in my life started when I was just twelve years old. Until now I don’t remember a single good day or a good memory from my life. Each year I gave birth to a baby. Because of that I became crazy. I did not know what I should do with all of these of children.
Life has been very difficult for me. It is like a jail. Now, I live with my sons. I have never forgiven my parents for doing this to their daughter.
By Adelah as told to Leeda
This is horrifying in every way. My only hope is that today, living with your sons, you have some degree of peace.
Thank you for sharing. It is so important for the world to know these stories!
Adela and Leeda, I wish light and love will come into your life. You have struggled and deserve rest, support and love.
What a tragic story. I never cease to be amazed at the brutality of not only men toward women but of women toward one another. The mothers in-law perpetuate this brutality toward young girls by cooperating with it and taking out their own misery on them.
Adela, I hope you can find some peace in your later years. I hope that telling your story was a step toward healing. I wish you well.
Early and forced marriage is a violation of human rights.
Unfortunately, the child gives birth to a child in Afghanistan and child marriage threatens girls.
Thank you for sharing this heartbreaking story. It is a hard story to read but it must be read so that we can try to change the way people treat one another. I hope that you will find peace and a small measure of happiness living with your sons now, Adelah.
Reading your story, I am not supersied my dear sister! You are not alone, you are one of thousands with same destiny. Child marriage full shame chapters of our history!
We do make mistake after mistake after mistake… We are not ready to accept the reality that women does not deserve voilence. Look at the slogans men use against us. They hate their wives but respects their mothers!
We suffer my dear sister. We suffer from so much voilence and abuse, but I promise you, it will not last for ever. No matter if it doesnt change to day, I hope one day change happens for our children and grand children.
I wish you happiness and freedom!
Sister your story made my eyes wet,your life is full of sarrow and Hard,You experienced a hell in real life.Inshallaha a day will come when happiness touch your feet inshallaha.
I’d like to thank you for sharing your story, Adelah. In America, teen pregnancies are looked down upon. Yet, in your story, where underage marriage is considered to be correct, giving birth at such as young age was expected of you. As a 15 year old girl myself, two years older than when your first child was born, I cannot imagine giving birth now. For me it’s not just about the thought of having to get married and going through the pain of childbirth, but also, the sacrifices I would have to make.
I am sure you have grown to love being a mother and all of your children. I know the experiences of a mother don’t compare to anything else. But, I can’t fathom the sacrifices you had to make. You were barely grown yourself, still in your early phases of development, when you started to have to care for another. You had to take on the responsibility of another human when you were navigating your own harsh realities.
I am truly heartbroken for how your husband treated you. The abuse you went through, both physical and emotional is not justified in any way. I am sure you know now, that your life purpose isn’t defined by any other person. It’s certainly not being your mother’s servant. I hope you continue to live your life on an upward curve. I hope you make many more good memories and are able to remember many great days.
I don’t know how you would ever be able to forgive your parents, your husband, or the world for putting you in a personal jail. But, I truly hope that the strength you have developed causes you to make the rest of your life good, not for anyone else, but for you.