Though asylum seeking may protect one from the devastating physical consequences of war, the psychological impact is inevitable.
“It is as if I have left the strong, confident Arabic teacher back whom I used to be back in Syria, all I have now is a weak, dependable character, that fears everything and never does anything on its own” says “Mona”, a Syrian woman who came to Egypt after the war circumstances in Syria.
Having an autistic child added much to her suffering; due to her husband’s abandonment of his responsibility towards him, she had to stay up with him all night, fearing her husband would hit him harshly if he cried and woke him up.
Mona failed to express herself and her suffering, she preferred to stay silent and keep it all to herself, she even refused to visit doctors when she got sick.
She only visited a doctor for the first time after two month of nonstop bleeding.
“I thought it was my husband’s right to treat me like this; I used to accept being hit by him instead of my son, I used to accept humiliation and scolding, I used to accept being blamed for delivering an autistic child, I used to accept it all in fear of getting a divorce, but I just couldn’t take it anymore.”
Joining “The Friendly Space” support group was a turning point for “Mona”; she realized that an everlasting positive change in her life had to start from within first, then it would work its way out.
Learning to stand up for herself was her key to a new life, she started facing her husband and refusing his bad treatment, she stopped him when he tried to hit her or their son, she told him he had to bear the responsibility of their child with her, and asked him to stay up with him at night at least once a week because she needs some rest and sleep.
When he refused her requests at the beginning, “Mona” threatened him and asked for a divorce.
To her surprise, he immediately retreated, apologized and agreed to all her requests.
“My fear of losing my husband was actually destroying my life not saving it, when I risked everything for the sake of my dignity, I got everything in return.
It only required me some bravery and the courage to say “NO” to lead a totally new life, one which I am actually satisfied with.
Now I have my strong independent personality back and I am not ready to ever give up my rights again.”