Human Rights Day

From where I stand: “I swear I will get there; this is just the beginning for me”

Iman Issawi*, a Syrian refugee from Daraa currently living in Jordan, was 17 when she found herself trapped in an abusive marriage. A year later she managed to escape and, in spite of her suffering, she is rebuilding her life with the support and legal advice she is receiving from the Family and Childhood Protection Society (FCPS) in Irbid – a partner of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund.

Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Iman Issawi, 18, is utilizing the support she is receiving from FCPS to rebuild her life and regain her confidence. Photo: UN Women/ Lauren Rooney


QuoteThis morning I attended a court proceeding for the filing of my divorce against my husband. I wish I did not have to face this at the age of 18.


My marriage lasted seven months, and in that time, I was mentally and physically abused by my husband and his family. On the day I was left crippled in bed from being beaten by my husband, I used my only morsel of strength to call my father and tell him that I feared for my life and that I needed to escape. 


I was overcome with relief when he picked me up. Reuniting with my family after months of being restricted from seeing them was an unforgettable moment. But the hardship did not end when I finally escaped. My husband filed a lawsuit against me for being a ‘difficult’ wife. I was overcome with mortification and worried about the impact that this would have on my family.


I sought advice from the Family and Childhood Protection Society and it was here that I ignited my strength to overcome the hurdles and rebuild my life. The first step I took was working on my mental health, reassembling my outlook on life and, with that, my anxiety was relinquished. I built up the confidence to file for the divorce. 


Every time I go to court, I have to relive the nightmare. Despite this emotional toll, I know that I am one step closer to having my independence and my happiness back. At the Society I also met many inspiring and supportive women and girls, they have experienced the same as me and every day they inspire me to keep persevering for my rights. 


As soon as I will finalized my divorce and paid my debts, I will return to where I left off in my studies. My personal hardship has shaped what I want to study now. I would like to become a therapist and help women and girls to overcome what I am experiencing right now. I swear I will get there; this is just the beginning for me.”


SDG 5: Gender equality
SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Iman Issawi*, 18, a Syrian refugee from Daraa, living in Irbid, Jordan, is receiving legal and psychosocial support services through the Family and Childhood Protection Society (FCPS). With the generous support of the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund, FCPS provides educational opportunities and services to empower young Syrian refugee and Jordanian brides and raise awareness about the impacts of early marriages in the community. Issawi’s path to empowerment reflects Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which seeks to significantly reduce all forms of violence against children, as well as SDG 5, which aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women, and end harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage.

*Note: Name changed to protect the identity of the survivor.