Help and Support for Mixed Couples

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Indian Sikh woman and Sri Lankan Christian man.


This story was written by a young woman of great courage, who is a personal friend both to MixTogether and to Karma Nirvana.

It makes difficult reading.

It shares the central aspect that unites all our stories: a family forcefully opposed to a mixed relationship. In fact the only difference between any of the accounts you will read at MixTogether is the degree of force applied against the couple.

But this family went to lengths that we have rarely heard of at MixTogether.


 Mayah’s Story

 I had a very violent upbringing and that resulted in me running away from home. When I came back I was taken to a different place, beaten up and brought back home and locked in my bedroom for almost a year and everything I did was monitored. 

After 3yrs my relation with my family was shredded completely and I ran away this time and got married to the man I loved, a Sri Lankan Christian named M. He knew all that I had gone through and supported me with everything.  In the first week of our marriage M and I were summoned to a meeting held by the Sikh religious leaders and SriLankan Christian leaders, who all asked me if I had been forced to marry or under duress of any sort. I told everybody, including my father that I was very happy with M and wasn’t going to go back home but carry on living with my husband.

So we were let to go after the meeting and just after 2 weeks of our marriage, my father had both of us arrested and taken to the police station. M was kept there overnight and I was taken to my father's office -escorted by 4 gunmen in a car.
My father had employed various people or sought help to carry out this ugly task. He even had a doctor by his side. That same night only I was taken out of the country without my permission and taken to the
neighbouring country for a couple of weeks. In those 2 weeks I suffered a great deal of battery from my father and mother and doctor. On the way I started palpitating but my dad's younger brother stuck a gun to my forehead and threatened to kill me if I made a 'fuss'.

The doctor sedated me and that kept me lifeless to do anything. When I did come round I tried very hard to get in touch with my husband but it was very hard. I knew he was looking for me. The violence and abuse and sedation carried on till my father flew me to India with the doctor and my mum. He told the immigration that I was severely mental and that the doctor was accompanying me for treatment.
We went to India and it didn’t stop there. The doc did his job while my dad battered me. My mum was not allowed to say/do anything. I begged the doctor to stop sedating me as I suspected I was pregnant but he told my father and they took me to another doctor to carry out tests. I was negative at first but next week I was confirmed.  Worse was to come-my dad had got pills to stop the pregnancy and he made sure he gave me a pill after every meal to reject the baby. It happened in a matter of days when I woke up in alarming pain and woke my mum to call a doctor as I couldn’t breathe and pain was killing me. She called dad and the last thing I could remember before passing out was both of them standing at the bedside watching me bleed away. I cannot describe the days that followed but I was asked to prepare for my wedding.

I got married 2yrs later without my choice.

My parents stayed with me in India so as to hide the 'shame' I had caused them. I came back to the UK 1mth after the marriage where the Met were looking for me to take statements as my first husband was still on the search for me. My father had continuously threatened me that if I made the wrong statement I would lose my first husband forever and his family as they would be killed. I told the Met that nothing had happened and from then on killed all my feelings and hope for happiness and started to support my 2nd husband's residency in the country. He came in Feb 1999 and my parents passed me to him.

Slowly I realised he drunk like a barrel and started beating me up when he felt like. On the other hand I was under pressure to have kids to prove that I had settled. I was never allowed to go out but I tried and tried to look for work. My father still kept his threats constantly that if I did anything against him this time I would lose my 1st husband forever. I tried to pretend to be happy in this marriage. I did everything to please everyone. My ex-in-laws stated I was a daughter in-law from heaven -despite the fact that their son was violent but I had to keep shut. He raped me when he felt like and that traumatised me a lot but I kept quiet for the children. (I have 2 very beautiful sons.) 

My break came after 6yrs of marriage when in 2003 sep after my ex and I had an argument I told him I needed time out and space so I went to India to his parents as I couldn’t go to my own family. I was treated like a 2nd class citizen but I felt 'free' from my husband's clutches and then I started thinking about my long lost freedom. My elder son is born on 13th Jan (Lohri) and we used to celebrate it in India and I had also gone to help with preparations. My husband flew in in JAN and on the same day that he came he was sooo drunk that he punched me and cut my lips. After that I cannot say what happened but it changed my attitude completely. 

I fell pregnant when we came back to the UK and told him. He rejected the baby and said he didn’t want it because he blamed it on someone else. Coincidentally I didn’t want the baby because of how it had been conceived and my brain, being battered with all the abuse -I couldn’t handle more trauma.  I was depressed and it went worse. He threw taxi fare at my face and asked me to take the cab to hospital.

After termination I was not allowed to go back because my blood pressure had dropped to dangerous levels and I could have ended up in coma but when I came back home I was pressured into work. This is where I told my GP and she got me in touch with Domestic Violence services. We started planning a safe exit. I had started working as a care assistant so I had a lee-way to plan. Plans were going smoothly but one day when I came back I found that my in laws had packed the boys clothes and said that they were taking the kids to India with them - I retaliated and it sparked an argument where I got slapped by my brother-in -law and father-in-law and of course my husband, his mum and sis stood there watching laughing. Kids were crying and confused. I called the police and broke off, lived in a refuge for a month and came back.

Since then I have concentrated on getting better, I refused to go to an Asian women's refuge because I knew a few ladies here who worked with Domestic Violence services but they also went to the temple and gossiped.  I feel there is very little resource here in the south of UK for Asian women. If there is then the input is not as much as it is needed. Just recently my ex-husband has threatened me a few times and I have done some interviews and the police want to question him, only that he has gone to India to re-marry.
On the other hand I have been told by my father that I have to live like a 'widow' and I am not supposed to love anyone as that’s my punishment for blackfacing him!

The only question in my mind is that how do I get help in a cultural way and emotionally? I have spoken to a lot of people here about my life but it seems that there is very little understanding unless the person you are talking to has gone through something similar. I have had a lot to put up with in my life and coming out of it has left me with a lot of scars that are hard to heal but I feel like I also want to help other women in similar situations.

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