At age nine, Kallie began life an as a refugee in Lebanon. At age thirteen her parents arranged her marriage to a man she had never met and did not know. He was six years older. At first, she resisted the decision but he father insisted. Two months later she was a young married woman with no idea about how to manage a household.
The couple chose to live with the mother of the groom. When in the company of Kallie’s parents the mother-in-law was kind and attentive but in private she was very mean to the young bride. She would force the young woman awake at five in the morning to start on the housework and when done would force her to clean the houses of other people. Any money she made the mother-in-law kept for herself. Kallie would end her days exhausted. And the pain got worse.
Beatings followed. Many times she was hit by the mother-in-law in front of the husband. He would laugh and sometimes join in using a belt. Life became oppressive for Kallie. She was denied the right to change her clothes for weeks at a time. She was left alone without food for days. They would wake her during the night preventing her from having a peaceful sleep.
One day, after whipping her with a cable cord her husband promised to hang her. Next, his mother threatened to kill her with a knife. It was then she ran home to her parents and told them everything. They believed her, cried with her, and although divorce was frowned upon by all the relatives they stood by her and supported her. So affected were they by what had happened to their child they changed their views about young marriage agreeing that her sisters wait till they were eighteen.
Though saved from continued trauma in a loveless marriage, Kallie is still saddened by the fact that her childhood is lost forever. Nor will she be allowed to go to school because she is a divorced woman now. There is not much future for someone who cannot read or write.
Kallie is not alone. Around the globe women suffer from a lack of protection under the law. The situation is different for boys and men. Kallie is a survivor. Many are not so fortunate.