Secret Life Of The Kaffur Wife

Violence, Abuse & Isolation
The Secret Lives of the ‘Kaffur’ Wives to British Pakistani Men

SarabhaPanjab News

10 March 2007

Across the country many Pakistani men engage in relationships with non-Pakistani girls. The majority of these girls assume they hold a genuine long-term relationship and possibility of marriage.

In recent years it has been well documented these girlfriends are usually kept as short-term pre-marital ‘flings’. Once a family instructed arranged-marriage has been conducted these girlfriends are abandoned.

But what happens to those who are not abandoned, and do end up marrying these men?

SarabhaPanjab spoke to ‘Seema’ (real name was not disclosed)

Seema spoke about her 5-year marriage living with her ex-husband Amir and his parents in a small house in the north of England.

SarabhaPanjab: Seema, tell us about how the relationship began.

Seema: We met at college when I was 17 years old. I guess it was your typical story of girl meets boy. I fell for him straight away. He was kind, considerate and a charmer. His mates would all look after me, pick me up from college in their cars and basically looked out for me. I loved the attention, although I did often wonder if it would work due to our different religious backgrounds.
He always assured me that it will never be an issue and that we were made for each other.

SarabhaPanjab: How did the relationship progress?

Seema: Well after college Amir started working in his dads take-away and I went off to uni. I was living away from my hometown, which gave me the freedom to see him whenever I wanted. He would stay round my flat and everything seemed ok.
Into my second year of uni the relationship turned sour. He began cheating on me. I had other girls calling me saying they found my number in his mobile phone. He would show up at my flat drunk and demand sex. I felt like a toy being used. But my self-pride got the better of me, I still thought I could change him and make him into the person I first met.
He had a way with words; he always assured me that I was the only one for him when he needed me…(pause) and I always fell for it.

SarabhaPanjab: How did you get married?

Seema: I knew his parents wanted him to marry a Pakistani girl and that they were eager to seen him married. Then he went to Pakistan and when he came back he said he had been introduced to a girl. This is when reality hit home. I was about to lose the love of my life. I plucked up the courage to tell my father. My mother had passed away when I was young. I already knew how he would react. He was deeply disappointed, he told me he wanted to meet my boyfriend to see what kind of person he is. I Invited Amir to meet him, but he never did. Few months later we had a registry wedding. No one from my family attended, it was just his mates and his parents.

SarabhaPanjab: How was married life?

Seema: For 5 years I lived an isolated life. I was beaten regularly, raped and mocked by all his relations. They would call me racist names and would mock my family and their traditions.

My family didn't know about it because I was always putting up this front to cover up.
I contacted the Police on two occasions but I never had the courage to follow it up. His brothers and cousins were all told to keep a look out in case I left.

SarbhaPanjab: How did you eventually break out?

Seema: I got hold of an asian women’s refuge centre. The representative was understanding and gave me the courage to leave.

Sarabha Panjab: How is life now?

Seema: Now I work for the very centre that saved my life. I owe them everything, and I am helping other women in similar circumstances.

Seema says she sees many victims who are facing similar abuse to what she faced. Her advice;

“Young women should be educated into the possible dangers of relationships from a young age. The Hindu and Sikh community need to highlight and tackle the serious problem of ‘racial grooming’ more actively.”

SarabhaPanjab would like to thank Seema for speaking about her experiences.

SarabhaPanjab News


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