When she was 16 years old, Shakila Zareen was shot in the face by her husband.
Forced to marry a powerful man 14 years her senior, Shakila had never expected a happy home. From itsfirst night, their marriage was intertwined with rape, violence, and pain.
One day, after a particularly devastating beating, Shakila reached out to the police. They told her to tolerate the beatings and someone at the police station informed Shakila’s husband of her complaint. Shakila escaped to her mother’s home, where she was caught by her husband and two other men and shot in the face. He was imprisoned and released after ten months.
With help from the Afghan government, Shakila pursued treatment for her injuries in India, but she was kept awake by constant threats from her ex-husband. Meanwhile, her request for resettlement in the United States was denied, despite originally being accepted, after Donald Trump changed the country’s immigration policies. It was through months of advocating for herself that she was finally resettled in Canada.
As she begins a new life, Shakila reviews her life and retells her story as one of struggle, survival and defiance. Now she wants to use her voice to support other women facing violence.
I am proud of how strong I am. No matter what happened, I have fought for myself and I’ve always been determined to stand on own feet. I will continue to raise my voice because I want women who are suffering in silence to know that they don’t have to tolerate that life. We are stronger than we ever imagined ourselves to be.