Let's PRAY for all persecuted Catholic converts. May this courageous woman be blest with joy and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
From Examiner.com - She's changed her name, converted to Catholicism, left her native Pakistan for Germany via Austria... and escaped being just another statistic.
|Sabatina James from captivity to Freedom in Christ in His Church|
As reported by Newsweek magazine, Sabatina James (left) was a victim of severe beatings and the threat of 'honor killing' at the hands of her own parents.
James relates how her family left their tribal village in the Pakistani-controlled section of Kashmir for the village of Linz, Austria at the age of fifteen.
That's where James discovered jeans, t-shirts, make-up and acting lessons - which her father said "were for prostitutes."
Then the issue of feminine hygiene reared its ugly head.
According to James, her mother thought that tampons "would ruin my virginity."
The humiliation and beatings grew progressively worse and with greater frequency.
"When my mother found my diary one day and learned that I had kissed a boy in the park after school, she cracked me across the cheek, slammed me against the wall, and kicked my legs, calling me a whore.
One day, when she found a T-shirt that she felt was too skimpy, she smacked me hard in the face with a shoe, splitting my lip."
Marry Who We Choose, Or Else...
As posted on her foundation's website, at the age of 17, James was forced into an arranged marriage to her Pakistani cousin.
The family left Austria for their homeland to prepare for the engagement and wedding arraignments for their daughter.
Yet James viewed the situation differently from her parents:
"Still, I refused to submit.
I didn’t want to disappear into a forced marriage.
I wanted my freedom."
In what many Westerners consider unthinkable in the 21st century, James relates the suffering she had to endure due to her independent streak:
"My parents shipped me off to an Islamic school, or madrassa, in Lahore, to 'get educated,' as my mother said.
I lived in a room with around 30 other girls—no chairs, no beds, no ventilation.
In that room, we did nothing all day but study the Quran, pray, and listen to lectures on the prophet from a mullah, who stood behind a curtain.
If a girl spoke out of turn, she would be publicly caned in the courtyard of the compound.
The sanitary conditions were beyond non-existent, to the point of aiding in the spread of disease and sickness:
Flies and vermin swarmed the washrooms.
There were no sanitary napkins, just blood-stained towels.
The toilet was a hole in the ground."
After 3 months, James was eventually expelled from the madrassa and accepted the inevitability of the forced-marriage, thus able to return to Austria during the engagement.
But then things went from bad to worse:
"... when my parents realized I did not intend to go through with the wedding, my father told me, 'The honor of this family is more important than my life or your life.'"
It was then James realized she had to escape what she thought was her inevitable fate.
James has since founded the Sabatina e.V. Foundation, which provides assistance to Muslim women who – due to violence within the family, threatened, or already implemented forced marriage or honor killing threats – require the help of others.
As she says in her Newsweek interview:
"Today I’m trying to break the marry-or-die tradition.
I run a foundation called Sabatina, in Germany, where I live.
My group acts as an underground railroad, helping women escape their families by finding them shelter and jobs."
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