A young woman immigrated to Canada from Pakistan at the age of 8. She is the youngest of three siblings. She has two older brothers. She believes that family comes first, and she loves her family.
We have been taught from childhood that older brothers are there to protect their little sisters. They provide the love and support essential for the emotional and psychological development of their sisters. Older brothers are an integral part of the family.
Her parents are disabled so she works long hours at her local Sobey’s to provide for the family. She has sacrificed her education, starting in high school, to fulfil the family’s financial needs. She is 21 years old now, struggling to complete her post-secondary education, one subject at a time. She wants to be a doctor but her dream is out of reach. However, family comes first, and she loves her family. Her misfortune.
Every paycheque she earns goes to her parents. She is not allowed to keep her earnings. Family comes first, and she loves her family. Her older brothers, from a practical point of view, are useless. They live on her paycheque. Her misfortune.
Since her childhood her older brothers have been verbally and physically abusive. It is the norm of the family; parents do not intervene. Slowly, the physical abuse turned into something heinous. Her misfortune.
In her early teens it was difficult for her to understand what it was. They had hit her, but differently. They had put their hands on her, but differently. The only door permitted to be locked in her house was the main door into the house. Unfortunately for her, whenever she changed her clothes, people would walk in, accidentally. Her misfortune.
As she matured she realized what they were doing. She turned to her mother and pleaded for help. Her mother was in denial and insisted that the young girl misunderstood. Nothing was happening. Nothing was going on. She turned to her father for help. He hung his head in disgrace. Her misfortune.
She loves her family. Her mother, however she is, is her mother after all. Her brothers, however they are, are her brothers after all. Her misfortune.
Her friends of over a decade recently found out about her abusive situation. They knew of the physical abuse but never imagined sexual abuse. How can a brother look at his sister like that? They offered her help but she refuses to abandon her family. . Family comes first, and she loves her family. She loves them all. Her misfortune.
She insists that they have changed and she is safer now. She continues to refuse help. She continues to sacrifice her future for the sake of her family. Family comes first, and she loves her family. Her misfortune.
What can one do in a situation like this?