A Sabahan Housewife Recounts How She Felt When Her Father Forced Her To Marry At 13

Living with unfulfilled dreams and a life of disappointment.

Cover image via SAWO (Sabah Women's Action-Resource Group)

On Facebook, slightly less than an eight-minute-long video shows a housewife in Sabah narrating her experience, amidst tears, as she recalls being forced to marry a total stranger when she was just 13

The video was uploaded on the social media platform by SAWO (Sabah Women's Action-Resource Group) an NGO in Kota Kinabalu working towards gender equality.

Breaking down in tears as the woman in the video recalls the early days of her marriage, for the 59-year-old, the decades passed have not eased her pain of being forced to marry to a stranger at an age when she was meant to play and study.

"I always wanted to go to secondary school. I got good grades when I was sitting for my primary school exam but unfortunately, I didn't get to go," she says in the video posted earlier this week

She was forced to get married when she was barely 13 years old.

"I didn't know anything. I only knew that a man came. I was told to wear something for the wedding but I didn't know anything about marriage.

"I didn't even know that the man was my husband. We just sat there.

"Everyone else was looking at us, clapping their hands but I wasn't even sure if I felt happy. Why? Because I didn't know what marriage was.

"Since I was still young I didn't know the meaning of marriage, what happens after that. That was how I felt. I felt scared," recalls the woman, who was identified as aunty Sail in the video posted by Sabah Women's Action-Resource Group.

Photo of aunty Sail and her husband.

Image via SAWO (Sabah Women's Action-Resource Group)

Aunty Sail recalls how disappointed she felt with her life

"I was devasted. I was crying so much. My father saw me crying and he caned me. I told him, 'Dad, I really want to go to school.'

"I held my mother. I said, 'Mom, please persuade dad. I want to go to school,'" she said, adding that her father beat her just for wanting to go to school.

By the time she turned 20, she attempted suicide twice. Living with unfulfilled dreams and heartbreak, her life had no meaning.

"In the past, I was really heartbroken. I wanted to kill myself. I attempted twice. At the time, I really wanted to do it and drink poison," says aunty Sail, trying to hide her decades of pain in her trembling voice.

"I didn't even want to get married. But I thought, even if I tried so I don't have the courage," she says as she covers her face while crying in an attempt to hide her tears.

However, despite her struggles and disappointment in life, aunty Sail says she is still grateful, adding, "I am always strong. So everything I have been through, I have already forgiven them."

Watch the full video here:

Kisah benar dari seorang pengantin kanak-kanak dari Tenom, Sabah

Child marriage. Aunty Sail from Tenom, Sabah, tells her story of being a 13 year old girl. She was taken out of school and forced to marry. Listen for yourself how she speaks of unfulfilled dreams and watch what is the ending to her story. You may share this video on your own or organisation's platform as long as you attribute it to SAWO. All rights reserved. (C) 2017 SAWO. #PelajarBukanPengantin #EndChildMarriage

Posted by SAWO (Sabah Women's Action-Resource Group) on Wednesday, 3 October 2018

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