A Pakistani Christian mother of three, who was abducted and forced into an Islamic marriage, has been rescued after having been beaten, tortured, mutilated and forced to live as a Muslim wife for months.
As previously reported, 31-year-old Christian divorcee Fouzia Bibi was abducted by her Muslim boss, Muhammed Nazir, in Pattoki in July 2015 after he called on her to do some cleaning in his home.
After Fauzia's father and brother went to Nazir's home to check up on her the following day, they were told that Fouzia had entered into an Islamic marriage and that she was now Nazir's property.
Even though Fouzia was later able to escape from the house, Nazir and his family lodged a police complaint that stated that Fouzia had been kidnapped. Fouzia's family was threatened by the local police with persecution, torture and arrest if they did not return their daughter to Nazir.
Although the London-based charity British Pakistani Christian Association made efforts to find Fouzia and her family a safe house to live in, the family felt as though they had little choice but to return Fouzia to Nazir. Last March, it was reported that Fouzia was officially returned to Nazir in order to spare her family members from arrest or persecution.
On Tuesday, BPCA announced that Fouzia had been rescued from her enslaved marriage and returned to her family. She is now living in a BPCA safehouse.
BPCA worked alongside of Fouzia's brother and cousin to help Fouzia officially escape her captors last Oct. 27. The news of her escape is just now being published because the organization wanted to allow Fouzia the chance to recover and seek safe shelter.
Fouzia told BPCA of the mental and spiritual anguish that her time as Nazir's servant wife caused her.
"I thought God had left me and wanted to end my life. I stopped praying and hated myself. I thought I was evil and had done something to make God hate me," Fouzia stated. "I felt dirty and unclean all the time, the monster made me do things I am so ashamed of. But I had no choice. It made me angry that God was blaming me."
Fouzia explained that she was forced to cook and clean for Nazir. She added that she was also required to fulfill his sexual fantasies.
"I reached my lowest point and tried to commit suicide by taking some pills. I was rushed to the hospital and the monster used the opportunity to remove my ovaries, so I would not have any more children," Fouzia explained. "I could not even kill myself. I felt totally helpless. I realized I was not getting out of this life on my own and asked God to forgive my mistrust in Him. I decided to use any spare minute to pray for freedom."
The only time I felt any peace was when I prayed. God was my only company.
Fouzia recalled the day that her cousin came and gave her the cell phone that BPCA had provided to help her escape.
"I realized God had not forgotten me. He was there for me just as He had always been," she said. "With the phone, I was able to escape the clutches of a monster and his evil family. Now, I pray for freedom from the forced marriage that I am shackled by."
Now that Fouzia is free, the only thing left for her to do is to try and get an annulment for her forced Islamic marriage. But in the Muslim-majority nation that takes a Muslim man's word over a Christian woman, that could be a costly legal fight.
BPCA is trying to raise the nearly $2,000 it would cost to hire a professional lawyer to help her receive an annulment. BPCA accepts online donations that will go toward Fouzia's legal fees and ongoing costs associated with the various safehouses that the BPCA uses to house persecuted Pakistani Christian families.
Additionally, BPCA has launched a petition that calls on the Pakistani government to "bring an end to the mass abduction, rape and forced marriage of Christians and other minority women, through tougher laws and stronger policing protocol."
A 2014 report published by "Movement of Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan" found that anywhere from 100 to 700 Christian girls are kidnapped in Pakistan every year, many of whom are forced into Islamic marriages.