From having been raped at the age of 18 years to being labelled as a ‘divorcee’, Jasmine M Moosa sure has shaken up every feminine stereotype on her way. For the level-three fitness trainer, fitness was never just a way to enhance her physical self, but to carve out a powerful statement. Hailing from a remote village in Calicut, Kerala, she recalls how her life took a twist when she was married off to a man at the age of 17 years, whom she met on their wedding day for the first time.
“The night after the wedding, when he walked into the bedroom, I realised that something about his behaviour seemed off. Soon, he tried to pin me down forcefully, and I screamed with all my might. However, in my area, this was considered common,” she told The Better India. She continued suffering abuse at the hands of her husband until she found out that he was autistic. The marriage eventually ended in divorce, but the echoes of domestic violence and mental abuse were far from being dissipated. “My family informed me that I was a burden and that they wanted to get me remarried again as soon as possible,” she added.
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I have gotten quite a few messages from people saying that they've had trouble finding my story…so I decided to share this repost for those who have been asking about it @humans.of.bangalore JASMINE [1/2] "I was Born & brought up in a strict orthodox Muslim family. I was raised to be the perfect submissive kind of daughter/Wife. I'm a Country Girl. My Parents were my only world. For 22 years i did nothing. Women in our house were like slaves, They can get whatever they want but still men rule.I'm not anti Men but the way my Papa/ my uncle's used to treat my Mom/women in my family always pulled me back.My mom & others were used to it. I didn't have any problem in the beginning. I loved traveling but my parents were like get married & you can go out with your husband. . At the age of 17. My parents fixed my marriage without my consent, I begged, cried what else can a 17 years old girl who has never even gone out of the city without her parents. I forcibly got married when I was just 17 and half.I always put my parents first, but for them it's all about reputation. For three months the guy who's 10 year elder to me forced himself on me, in addition he was a Drug addict. I got pregnant, I was 6 weeks pregnant when he kicked on my stomach & I had to undergo a surgery. I never raised my voice against anyone, no matter whether it's for the right thing or for the bad thing, But that time I stood up for my self and fought back, against him and against my entire family. I fought alone & sent him to jail and managed to get my divorce. . I was 18 and a divorcee. The people in my home town is very narrow minded, for them it's another story to gossip about.Things didn't make any difference, Again my Parents were planning to fix my marriage, I realised if i don't stand up for myself who will. I never went against my parents, But this time I said NO and suddenly I became the cursed one.They were again forcing me but this time with more emotional dramas. I had no choice and i tried to run away. they locked me. I was in house arrest for 2.5 months.They burnt my passports & certificates so that I won't leave home. But eventually I managed to Ran Away. I moved to kochi." [1/2]
Big storms birth big rainbows
They say that after a storm passes, one is directed towards better things and it often lifts our spirits high. Just when Jasmine mustered up all her courage to look up, another misfortune befell her. The next man she was married off to was exactly the kind of person she was looking she wanted. When everything seemed just right, on the wedding night, he came into the room, slapped her across her face, and raped her continuously, she recollected.
Sadly, night after night, the torture grew. Her husband would come home and rape her every single day. Somehow, the portrait of a marriage in 21st century India is gradually unfolding, and parts of it are downright grotesque. In a few months’ time, she found out that she was pregnant. The news of her pregnancy was much like ‘a ray of hope’ for Jasmine, after all the abuse, she could finally feel the purpose to live again. However, it barely changed anything. The moment she disclosed the news to her husband, he turned violent and started kicking her in the stomach. She eventually lost the baby after having bled profusely for weeks.
Fighting challenges, one at a time
“I decided I needed to live again, this time for myself,” said Jasmine. She soon reported a case of domestic abuse and got her husband arrested using the voice recordings of the violence. Somehow summoning all the courage, she flew to Kochi and was employed as a receptionist at a reputed fitness centre. She recalled, “I started building myself up both mentally and physically. The people at the fitness centre gave me all the strength and motivation that I had lacked my entire life. I made a transformation video that went viral, and the encouragement that I received from people who watched it further encouraged me to keep going down this path.”
She remembered how it would have never been possible for her to fight back had she not been relentless. “I have a job, an identity and people who love and support me every day. If I had waited for things to get fixed on their own, I might not have been alive. But my decision to live my life for myself changed everything,” she signed off.
There is no end to the heated conflict over the place women have occupied in society. But, one’s belief in their vast potential continues to remain as strong as ever, so does one’s admiration for all women fighters like Jasmine who continue to fight for a better, more diverse, and inclusive society.