In the late 1980s, Davinder Kaur was forced to marry a man she didn't know. When she was only 14 years old, the marriage was arranged and set to occur when she turned 18. This book tells the story of her experiences and her break for freedom.
Middle Aged (35-54)
Note: Transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and may contain errors.
introduction. When I was growing up in Bradford in northern England, I had the same dreams most young girls have. I read Milson Boone's books, romance stories and dreamed of experiencing a great romance before marriage. That's how I thought things were meant to be. After all, life and love were portrayed that way in my books and on television shows I'd seen. I had witnessed the engagement of Princess Diana and Prince Charles on television and in the newspapers when I was about 13 years old. And what a fairy tale romance that was even though attended. Sadly and tragically for Princess Diana, I viewed these occurrences and wanted them for myself as I grew up in a westernised society. Little did I know I would not be allowed these dreams because my parents, who had emigrated to England from India when they were very young, were expected to carry on Indian traditions and culture. They did not want their daughters or son to engage in romances. Instead, they would arrange marriages for each of us. This reality was the opposite of the ideals we were growing up with. We were raised in westernised society but were expected to keep East earnest values. That wasn't an easy thing to do. Now that I am older. I recognise I grew up with abusive gaslighting. I wasn't aware of the manipulation at the time, nor was I aware that there was even a term for what I experienced. Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation in which the abuser sowed the seeds of doubt into a person's experience, to the point they question their own reality. It really is a pernicious thing to do to someone. Not only was my childhood taken from me, but my dreams and ambitions were stripped away as well. My freedom was snatched, and what's worse, I experienced atrocities in which my own family was complicit. My story is painful, but I believe it's important to share it. If even one person is saved, it is worth every word. It feels good to know it might make a difference. Preface warning. I was in a dark place when I was young. This preface contains a very brief mention of suicide. I felt it was important to convey how my circumstances affected my mental health, pushing me to drastic measures. If this is a trigger for you, please skip to the first chapter when I was 11 or 12, I didn't think life was worth living anymore. I had decided to slash my neck and had chosen the instrument carefully. The knife was perfect for chopping onions, so I figured it should be good enough to do what I needed to accomplish. Standing in the kitchen, I held it to my skin and exerted pressure, hoping the blade would penetrate my flesh and caused enough harm to end my pain and suffering. The tip of the knife was cold against my skin, but it didn't pierce the soft tissue. I then tried to chop my neck like I would the onions going from left to right in a straight line. But nothing happened. Will they even care? Will they cry? I doubted it. They probably would just curse me, especially my mother. Stupid, idiotic girl. How could she do this? Why did she do this? My mother asked all these questions and more acting as if she had no clue why I had taken my life. But if she really dug deep, would she even have the self awareness to know her actions caused my death? Thankfully, I was not successful. I lacked the strength and courage to carry through with my plan and I also had no clue what I was doing. I didn't apply enough pressure to the instrument to force it into my skin or do any real harm. I don't think I had the power or the will, as I obviously didn't try hard enough. One thing was certain. I'd had enough of being put down. I felt I wasn't loved or wanted. Nothing I did was ever good enough. I was criticised continuously and I felt my life wasn't fair or that I wasn't needed. I stared at the knife in my hands for a long time before I cleaned it. It would be like washing away the attempt. Nobody would know anything, and the knife could be used for its proper purpose. Again, I slid the sponge over the shiny silver blade, drenching it with liquid and scrubbing it thoroughly, even rubbing the sponge over the wooden handle. Over the years, I thought I had done some damage because I noticed the shadow of a line across my neck. I thought I had somehow caused it, but now I realise it couldn't have been the knife, I would have bled. I was not told. Ending one's life is wrong, but I was exposed to this way of thinking from a very young age. I can't recall if I learned this from television or from conversations I overheard. You may ask, Is it cultural or spiritual? I can honestly say these belief systems were more likely from the Western culture I was exposed to versus the Indian culture of my family. I am ashamed to admit I attempted to take my life. Nobody should have enough power over me to cause me to do something so drastic and dangerous like that. I have never spoken to anyone about what I tried to do. This is the first time I have disclosed the secret. There is absolutely no reason I would or should ever want to end my life. I believe things will get better no matter how bad they seem. My life is a precious gift, and I am thankful to be alive so I can share my story. My journey began in northern England and what could be characterised as an unhappy childhood? I was not allowed to have any freedom or choice and I had no voice. I would gradually realise life wasn't fair and it wasn't like it was in the books.
Narrator, Storyteller, Articulate, Authentic, Calm, Concerned, Confessional, Informative, Mature, Narrator, Emotional, British