Bibi Shenaz Kausmally

Bibi Shenaz Kausmally


Date: March 30, 2016
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I was very happy to follow one week training at Gender Links in 2014. I believe that I learned a lot from this kind of interaction with a welfare organisation. Unlike other women, my life did not change for the best. Gender Links organised two more meetings of which I could not be a part of this October. My husband prohibited me to attend these follow-up sessions. One year ago he had a positive respond towards my desire to follow trainings, meet new people and learn new things.

Many of the teachings I received from Gender Links are of no use to me because I am not being given the opportunity to apply them especially in my personal life. The truth is that women have to abide what men say. They are the one with decision-making power and we cannot dispute the fact that they have their final say in all matters. My aspirations, ambitions and goals mean nothing. He allows his family to interfere in my personal life choices. He does not respect me as an individual.

However before the training I used to work as a dressmaker from home. I still do the same but with a different perspective. I have more customers and I am able to keep a more systematic and effective financial record. I earn more than before with this endeavour. I am often asked to make different types of clothes for a community centre. But this progress does not mean anything because I do not reap the fruit of my hard work. My husband obliges me to give him all the money I earn. When I need money for something I have to ask people for it. He even has a problem with the way my customers speak or dress when they come to meet me at my place to hire my service.

I have a strong desire to apply what I learned from Gender Links. I want to bring changes to my present personality and I even know what kind of woman I want to be. But I am in such a situation where I have no choice but to suppress my feelings and ambitions. Even if I feel like leaving my husband I will not take such an important step because I have nowhere else to go. I have a child and I cannot put his future at stake by taking impulsive decisions.

I perpetually feel suffocated and morally harassed since my husband blames me for everything that happens in our lives and that of his family. I cannot understand such behaviour because it does not make sense. He always looks for loopholes in whatever I undertake. I am very stressed and pressurised by my present situation but still I believe that I have to accept it and deal with it the way my husband wants me to. He attempted to hit me and threatens to kill me all the time! But I did not let him beat me up.

I no longer have his permission to attend my aerobic classes. I did follow cookery courses and zumba classes some years back. But now things have changed for the worst and the amazing part is that now I am more aware of my rights as a woman than before but I still cannot do anything for myself. My dream is to get out of this situation, improve my life and make considerable progress in what I do. I want people to know me as a woman who succeeded in life!