“When my brother was acting violently towards the family”, recalled Nawaz, “my nieces and nephews started to copy him. He was expressing all his pain in a violent way towards the family, which was not good.”
Nawaz’s brother got married eight years ago in Herat province. At the beginning of his marriage, for a year and a half, he had a normal and happy life; things begun to change in the second year of his marriage.
“My brother was behaving violently and was beating everyone in the family, including his wife.” Nawaz added. The peaceful environment which the family enjoyed up until then was changed. Nawaz’s brother was not the same as he used to be in the past. His family did not know the reason behind the sudden change in his behaviour until they found out that it was because his marriage had not given him a child.
“After two years of his marriage, there was no sign of pregnancy. He was suffering quietly. The situation was bothering him and it affected his behaviour.” Nawaz continued. The family advised him to visit a doctor for a check-up which he did. After consulting the doctor, he realised that the chances of having a baby was even lower than he thought. This deepened his sense of disappointment. He was emotionally under pressure. His behaviour became more violent than before.
In a traditional society like Afghanistan, when you are married for a long time, but your marriage does not produce children, people start asking questions. These questions, when repeated over time, begin to bite you hard. “When people called him ‘childless’, he lost his temper and patience”, Nawaz recalled. “He fought with everyone at home. This took the atmosphere of peace away from our family. We ended up with a brother who was losing his mind.”
Nawaz’s brother was thinking it was his wife’s fault that she was not getting pregnant. He was taking it all out on her by beating her. He could not accept the fact that it was not all in her hand. Maybe he did not want to know. He also did not know that his behaviour was rubbing off on other members of the family, especially on younger members. Children picked up his behaviour.
Eventually, he wanted to marry a second wife. He totally accepted that it was his wife’s fault that she was not able to conceive. He started making preparations for a second marriage. But before doing so he relented to visit the doctor once more. The medical examination confirmed that he was the problem, not his wife. So, a second marriage would be pointless.
He finally decided to cancel the preparations for marrying a second wife. This realisation changed his behaviour too. He committed himself to rediscover the normal and peaceful life they once took for granted.