Nyla Khan, a 30-year-old British woman who was born and raised in Scotland, has recently revealed how about 13 years ago she was forced to marry her cousin in Pakistan because her family thought she was getting "out of control".
During an interview with BBC Scotland, Nyla revealed that even though she knew from a young age that she was “promised” to marry her cousin, back then she felt stunned when her family went through with that scheme as they were “paranoid” about her possibly becoming "too Western".
"They think they are protecting you. To them, out of control is becoming Western. Having a voice, expressing yourself, dressing differently, wanting more from life, not wanting to marry your cousin", she said.
As Nyla explained, things came to a head when she was 17 and went to Pakistan with her parents on a family vacation. There, she woke up one day to have her entire family confront her in her room, telling her that she had "sinned" and "brought shame on the family", and that the only way out of this predicament is marry her cousin.
"I kept saying no, from the morning until tea time. And they were still at it. And I gave in, just wanting them to shut up, just wanting them to be quiet. From there on, it is like your soul leaves your body because you become so numb. Because you have absolutely no power or control over what is happening", she revealed.
After the marriage, Nyla stayed in Pakistan for five weeks before returning to Scotland where she ended up running away from home two months later and, having spent about a year away from her family, to return to her parents and demand permission for a divorce.
According to Nyla, it took a few years for her parents to come to a decision, but in the end they granted her request as her family had "put love before religion" and "had worked through the difficult time".
Afterwards, Nyla went on to move from her home to study at a university and, in her own words, has been "an independent Muslim woman ever since".