Protecting Nasiba

Speeches Shim

Monday, December 7, 2020
Nasiba is one of many women who have found protection in Oydin Nur’s shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Sanobar Khudaybergenova, USAID Uzbekistan

Nasiba (name changed) is from the small town of Yakkabag in the Kashkadarya region of Uzbekistan. Nasiba married for the second time while pregnant with a child from her first marriage. After the wedding, the couple settled down in Bukhara where their daughter Charos was born a few months later. Nasiba’s new husband gave Charos his last name and raised her as his own.

Nasiba, her new husband, and their daughter were happy for a few years. However, a few years into their marriage, Nasiba’s husband’s relatives started to meddle in their relationship.

One of his male relatives was especially persistent, chastising Nasiba’s husband repeatedly saying, “Charos is not your child, you must divorce Nasiba and return to your first wife and children.”

First reluctant, Nasiba’s husband finally gave in to familial pressure and started pressuring Nasiba to leave – first verbally, then escalating to physical intimidation.

Nasiba put up with the abuse for some time, hoping to keep her family together. Besides, she had no relatives and no place to go in Bukhara.

But finally, after a particularly awful physical altercation, Nasiba realized things had to change.

“It was already dark, but I grabbed my daughter and fled the house, to go nowhere. We spent the night in the fields, and in the morning we went to the center of the city hoping to find some food and help. We must have looked terrible because a woman approached us, asking if we needed help. Then she took us to a shelter. Her name was Zaynab.”

Zaynab Halimova is a lawyer at the NGO “Oydin Nur”, a USAID partner that provides temporary shelter and psychological and legal support to survivors of domestic violence. Nasiba and her daughter found comfort and protection in the shelter, where they spent three weeks.

“I was distraught when I first got to the shelter. It felt like my life had turned into an endless nightmare and I saw no way out,” recalls Nasiba. After a series of sessions with the NGO’s psychologist, Nasiba was better able to cope with the stress and find a sense of hope again.

Meanwhile, the NGO’s lawyer contacted the mahalla (local self-governance body) and the local police office and arranged for a restraining order. “When the policewoman came and handed me the restraining order, I finally felt protected. It also gave me self-confidence,” says Nasiba.

Oydin Nur’s lawyer applied for social housing for Nasiba and Charos who are now living in a small apartment.

“Now I realize that I should never have tolerated the abuse in the naive hopes of keeping my  family together. I will never allow anyone to beat me ever again. I am so grateful to Oydin Nur for their help. It enabled me to stop being a victim and to get on with my life,” says Nasiba with determination. “I used to sell vegetables in the local market until my husband forbade it and made me stay at home, but now I will return to my trade and I will support my daughter and myself on my own.”

Nasiba and her daughter are among many women who have found protection and safety in Oydin Nur’s shelter for victims of domestic violence. USAID’s assistance has enabled Oydin Nur and other NGOs across Uzbekistan to provide free legal aid to vulnerable women to help them overcome difficult periods in their lives. USAID is proud to join efforts with the NGOs, the Ministry of Justice, and other partners to counter domestic violence and make justice accessible to the citizens of Uzbekistan.