The following story is part of a series of stories narrated by youth deprived of family ties as part of the advocacy campaign activities for the “Empowering Care Leavers in Jordan” project.
I lived in different branches of care centers until the age of 18. Later, I moved to another institution where I worked and slept.
That was when I was told that a non-Jordanian man wanted to marry one of us, and I immediately accepted.
Why would I reject this offer? I was tired of moving from an institution to another. I had no chance to complete my education and I really didn’t have anything better to do. I thought I would spare myself a lot of suffering if I accepted, and lived under one roof for the rest of my life.
I wish I had someone to advise me. I wish someone approached me and explained what it meant to marry a non-Jordanian man, who was twenty years my senior. No one bothered. I knew from the very first day that I had made a mistake, and I repeatedly approached my previous supervisors, telling them that I wanted to get a divorce.
Sadly, they reminded me that if I got a divorce, I would literally sleep in the streets. They said I had to thank God that I had found a man to marry me. In their opinion, who would marry a girl born to unknown parents?
My children and I were all physically abused by my ex-husband. My children were and humiliated and made to starve, because he only paid 1 JD a day to cover food, beverages and all other expenses.
After nine years, I finally got a divorce and I stayed in the streets for months. I would carefully choose a location between a car and a wall, so that no one would take notice. I started working to be able to afford a room, where I could live with my children who stayed with their father until I could find a shelter.
When this day finally came, we agreed to meet. That day, I called him several times and he didn’t pick up. I found out he had travelled to his home country with my children, and I had absolutely no idea!
I was about to go insane. I had no one and no entity to stand by my side. I always wonder what sin I have committed to be treated like a criminal. I always wanted to face whoever is blaming me and say: are you a saint yourself?