‘They were treating me like a slave’: Domestic abuse survivors in Canada getting back on their feet

Ayesha Izhar found herself “abandoned” at the Toronto airport. Alone and seven months pregnant, she recalls being told by her husband over the phone to find another place to live.

“They were just treating me like a slave,” Izhar said, adding that she was restricted from calling her family back home in Pakistan. “We cook and do other chores, that’s all they want us to do … (Just because) we are married to them it doesn’t mean that we have to do everything they want.”

Domestic abuse — emotional, psychological, financial and physical — is not an uncommon problem faced by women in the South Asian community, said Sadia Khalid.

“It’s such a sad situation,” she said, surprised that this is “actually happening” in Canada in 2019.

Khalid doesn’t want to tar a whole community with the same brush, as it’s a problem that’s taking in place in different communities as well. But she acknowledges that there are people taking advantage of young, innocent girls from countries like Pakistan and India by promising a better life here — but end up treating them badly.

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