In the Shadows of Men:A divorced woman is a whore

A DIVORCES WOMAN IS A WHORE

 

How easy it is for a woman, especially if she is divorced, to become a whore on the tongues of the people in this society. I internalized the word so deeply; I felt as though it were tattooed across my chest. However, soon enough, in the face of their immoral judgment, I began to embrace my “whoredom” as an honor. Society prides itself on integrity, but then exults in the despair of others. Their hypocrisy made me proud of what I had become.

There is a regrettable dilemma in this. With the exception of my ex-husband, who was despicable in disgracing my honor, the most insulting words were spoken by women, often women I barely knew or had never met.

I became famous for leading roles I didn’t know I was cast to play.

The divorced woman is viewed as dangerous territory by the woman who fears her husband will go astray. Suddenly, she thinks her pig of a husband looks handsome and desirable, irresistible to other women. In this way, the divorced woman can sometimes improve a marriage. Then, there is the woman who is jealous of her own shadow, the woman I provoked. There is the woman who believes my bold ideas exceed the limits of what is acceptable, and the woman who sees divorce as a disgrace. There is the woman who thinks divorce is a threat, like a potentially fatal and contagious disease.

People had many presumptions about me, most of which I was unaware of. I told myself that enduring their insults was another good deed according to the heavens.

I could err as much as I wished. The scale of my deeds was balanced by the punishments and attacks I endured. The more they violated my honor, feasted on my flesh, and gossiped at my expense, the more elevated I became in the eyes of God.

My balance must be overflowing, I thought. It is pay day. It’s time to collect what I’m owed.

Tough situations can make us stronger. In unjust circumstances, the flesh of the body hardens and its ability to survive becomes stronger.

During one lengthy stretch, I spent a good deal of time in police stations responding to claims made by my ex-husband. It was horrific. When a man becomes obsessive, he becomes a psychotic criminal without noticing. I admit I used to be scared of him. In fact, this fear never left me completely—until this very moment, as I write this. I would shake with fear when he began to grind his teeth and clench his jaw. His appearance was enough to guarantee my horror. His calm, quiet gestures transformed into something else. You could barely believe it was the same man still standing there.

My first visit to the police station was not the result of my bravery. My ex-husband had stolen the car, and I didn’t know who had taken it, so I went to the police. Such things were beyond my imagination. I never thought I could go to a police station.

The police also intervened during the first months of my divorce. Thieves broke into my parent’s house and, strangely, all the gold pounds I had saved were stolen from the room I was staying in.

When my ex-husband stole the car and brought it back, he dismantled the steering wheel. He was trying to kill me. Each time I went to the police, I would refrain from telling them anything that might get him arrested. I didn’t want the children to blame me for throwing their father in jail. Many years passed this way, with the children not understanding exactly what was taking place. On one occasion, I was with the kids, waiting for them to get on the bus for a summer trip, and my purse disappeared. My youngest said, “I saw a tall man who looked like Dad, but it couldn’t have been him.” He used to stalk me and enter my building to cut the electricity. He would knock on the door and run. The children used to say, “There’s a thief who looks like Dad.” He kidnapped one of the girls as she was going to school. My daughter said, “A man who looked like my dad kidnapped me from the hand of my mother.”

Every time the children asked me to respond to his accusations against me, I would say, “It doesn’t matter. God never throws stones.” Years later, my son said the same thing: “God doesn’t throw stones at all.”

However, I became part of this aggression. The disasters accumulated, until one day the court called me for a response. I said, “I cannot handle it anymore. I don’t have money, and I cannot handle all of this. I am in a battle for my children, and the children are becoming the spears in this war.”

Every time I involved the law, he was surprised. He couldn’t imagine being anything but dominant in such situations. His word had to be taken over mine. When he broke my ribs, he told the staff at the hospital that I fell on the stairs. I went to the Palestinian hospital so the accident wouldn’t be investigated, as it would have been in the Israeli hospital.

Two months later, before I left the house forever, he asked me to prepare his hookah. He lost patience with me because I ignored him. He had been keeping a close eye on me and I was doing everything I could not to provoke him. He couldn’t be suspicious of me, nor could he complain that I was disobedient. Living with him for a decade had trained me to make sure his needs were met and his demands were completely fulfilled according to his requirements. But in giving him everything he wanted of me, I could no longer stand him. I no longer slept in the same bedroom with him, and  moved into one of the other rooms in the house. That night, his anger reached its peak, and I will never forget the way he looked. I will never forget the words he said: “If you open your mouth, I will hit you and throw you down the stairs and make your father come and take you to the Maqaṣid hospital.” I couldn’t look at him. Any move I made would have sent me tumbling, and I was still in immense pain. The pain is still with me. But what was so terrifying at that moment was his arrogance—that he would hit me again. Not only that, he would call my father to take me to the hospital. Not only that, he was so confident I would go to the Palestinian hospital. How violated I had been. By him.

 

4 comments

  1. My heart breaks for you, Nadia! I cannot, for the life of me, imagine what it’s like to live under a patriarchy and have your voice silenced and your human rights trampled! Know that you have more people behind you than you know! Blessings to you!

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