Story of Leila
My name is Leila. I’m a Syrian girl just like any other girl. I was happy and I had a lot of big dreams. Not one of them came true. My parents and I came to Lebanon because of the war in Syria, and I was so excited I ran away from my cousin who raped me back home. He ruined my childhood. My dream was to study and live like any other girl. But I lived a great deal of pressure from our society. My parents had to preserve my honor and I had to get married to my cousin when I was only 14 years old. I didn’t have any other choice. I grew up before my time came. I didn’t know anything at all. I didn’t even know I was pregnant until my mother noticed my body changes due to the pregnancy. She then knew it was because of when my cousin raped me. I didn’t know this act lead to pregnancy at all.
We got married while I was in love with someone else. He used to make me feel as though I’m someone important and that he really wanted me. I was really happy, but now I’m really suffering when I got married. They didn’t even give me a proper wedding, and I was hoping that the wedding would get ruined. I was hoping that things wouldn’t work out. I get tired day in and day out. My husband only wants my body, and this isn’t love. This is the opposite of love. I never enjoyed sex. It’s always done with anger and without my consent. My married life is all about physical abuse. When I talked to my mom about this, she told me to try to seduce him so I started fixing myself up, but my husband’s brother tried to sexually touch me. When my mom knew, she told my husband and then I was accused as the dirty one. I couldn’t defend myself.
My mother in law forces me to work in domestic work from morning to the evening. My day is extremely tiring. I hear my husband and his parents talking about my parents in a bad way. I don’t feel as though I’m a human with them. They don’t treat me as a human.
I just get a bit happy when I see my parents, and I never complain to them. When I was pregnant, I didn’t want the child. I didn’t want a daughter to live the way I do. I don’t know how to raise kids. I wanted to abort the child so I tried to swallow a whole box of pregnancy control pills. I told my mom I wanted to end my life, but nothing happened to me. I once got fed up and went to my parents’ home for a month and a half. My husband begged me to come back because I wanted a divorce. So my father in law ended up beating me up in front of my family so I had to go back to my husband’s home. Everything went back as it was.
I was so happy at school, but my parents in law don’t allow me to continue my studies. I am not even allowed to leave the house. I wish I am still in Syria …I wouldn’t have gotten married. I would have still been in school. I really feel like leaving the house and talking with someone. I only wish I were a little girl again, completing her studies. I don’t advise any girl to have an early marriage.