Dr. Celia Williamson: You know the why human trafficking work is needed, to fight for the freedom of modern day slaves. But love, passion, commitment isn’t all you need to be an effective and successful anti trafficking advocate. Learn the how. I’m Dr. Celia Williamson, Director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute at the University of Toledo.
Welcome to the Emancipation Nation podcast. Where I’ll provide you with the latest and best methods, policy, and practice discussed by experienced experts in the field so that you can cut through the noise, save time, and be about the work of saving lives. Welcome to the Emancipation Nation episode 168.
I’m Dr. Sylvia Williamson, and today I have a special guest. Her name is Tamara MC. And what’s special about her is that she survived. a child marriage. Not only that, but she survived, she thrived to get her PhD. And this is really her first verbal discussion. She’s written about it and she has a book coming out, but this is really her first discussion about her experience.
She hasn’t even said to the world who she is for almost 50 years and what her experience has been. Now she is coming out. vowing to spend the second half of her life fully open and living life to its fullest. So thank you so much for actually having your first verbal discussion here on the Emancipation Nation.
So welcome Tamara.
Dr. Tamara MC: Thank you so much for having me and I was really purposeful in having my first discussion with you because I do trust the podcast so much and I do trust all of your work. So I’m just so happy to be here for my first discussion.
Dr. Celia Williamson: Yeah, this is such, such courage, such bravery, and I know you’re doing this so that the world will know.
What the experience is like and that education is so valuable to people who listen to the podcast. So can you tell us when at what age did you become a child bride?
Dr. Tamara MC: Yes. Um, I became a child bride. When I was only 12 years old, I had just completed seventh grade and my mother lived in Arizona and my father lived in Texas.
And I used to split time between them. And right after I graduated from seventh grade, I went to my father’s house in Texas, who was part of a Sufi cult. And while I was there, The leader of the cult asked me to live with him. He owned a big hill, um, between San Antonio and Austin, and I went to live with him within a few days of arriving, um, at my father’s place.
And I thought I was super special because I was the only child chosen to live with the leader. And I was always somewhat like the special child in the community. The leader happened to really, he actually named me Habiba, which is my Arabic name. And Habiba means most beloved. And I was named Habiba when I was five years old.
And that’s how I was in the community. I was the most beloved little girl. And so when I went to go stay with the leader at that point, He had an adopted son, not legally, but, but kind of a very special boy, kind of like myself. He was the special boy child and I was the special girl child. And he was several years older than me.
And he’d already lived on several continents and spoke multiple languages and like spoke with a British accent at that point. And he was. I’m only four foot 11 now. So I wasn’t tall at all when I was,
Dr. Celia Williamson: Oh, we’re the same. Okay. We’re the same height. All right. That’s four 11 nation.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah. So I was really small and I think my feet were like five feet.
I mean, you know, I had a really small shoe size and maybe it was actually, it must’ve been smaller when I was 12 because. My shoes are only that now, but, um, but I remember he had a size 12 shoe. And, um, the only reason I know this is because we had a community center where we would gather and we weren’t allowed to use our shoes when we came in.
So everybody’s shoes were left outside. And so often the little girls would like, look at all the big shoes outside, like all the, and sometimes we’d put our feet in there and like test them out. And so, um, I knew his shoes and. Um, after I arrived, this is a little bit complicated, but um, but after I arrived, he um, ended up coming into my room several times during the night, and I didn’t have a lock on the bedroom, because I was actually working for the leader of the cult.
I wasn’t actually special, that isn’t why the leader, I mean maybe to some extent I was, but um, I mean, I don’t want to say special. That’s such a funny word. I’m very hesitant to use it. But, but anyhow, I was actually there to work for the leader and they knew that I was the child that listened and followed all rules.
And I never broke a single rule because we had a lot of rules. in the community where my father lived. And so like I had siblings who were always in trouble and just never listened and I was the exact opposite. So that’s actually why I was chosen. And he had Um, I was there to actually care for his four Children that were all under, I think six or seven years old, and I was also there to cook and to clean.
And so I was working. It was the month of Ramadan, which is the fasting month. And so I would have to wake up before the sun came up. It was when we actually ate. Our morning food before we fasted for a full day. And I, um, so we were getting up at 4 AM and then going to sleep very late after 10 or 11, cause it was the summer and the fasting day was super long because you fast from sunrise to sunset.
And he ended up sneaking into my room. I was in a little room off the side, like. It was a converted patio, and it was a glass door that didn’t have any locks, and he came in and violated me for several nights, and then by the Within the first week, I don’t know the exact dates. Um, he said, actually, I don’t know exactly what he said, but basically he couldn’t be with me intimately unless we were married because we’re very much a purity culture and in our religion, we’re not allowed.
Like, no, you’re not allowed to have sex with anybody before marriage or just do anything intimate. And so then at that point, kind of at midnight, after we had fasted all day and I’d been cooking and cleaning and watching children from like 4 a. m. to 10 or 11, when he snuck into my room, he conducted a special marriage, which is called a mutah, which is an Islamic temporary marriage.
In a mutah, you don’t need any witnesses. So there was nobody in the room with me during this marriage. And, um, it’s also for a specified time period. So we married each other. Or I shouldn’t say we married each other. He married me for 90 days for the entire summer. And so that was the beginning of my marriage.
I was still dressed in my nightclothes. And they were still wet from washing dishes. And I basically repeated after him in Arabic something that I didn’t understand and then I was married and that’s how I was married
Dr. Celia Williamson: and that in this was the leader of the cult or this was a man within the cult.
Dr. Tamara MC: This was like his adopted son who was living with him with the leader.
Dr. Celia Williamson: Okay. And so you were married and it was, it was quote unquote legal or in this, in this call for 90 days. And did it last 90 days or how long did that, that marriage last?
Dr. Tamara MC: Yes, it lasted 90 days and I ended up with this person until I was actually 20 years old. So it lasted eight years, but within that eight years, we had several of these marriages because they don’t, you don’t actually get divorced at the end.
They just kind of, you’re just no longer married after the time period’s over. So we constantly had these little temporary marriages up through when I was 20 and I actually left. So I’ve never been divorced, but I maybe have had two dozen marriages.
Dr. Celia Williamson: Oh, wow. And so this is, uh, did you, did you move around or did you?
Stay in, in the place where. You first were married.
Dr. Tamara MC: Um, yeah. So our community was very nomadic and lived many places. It began in Texas, but I was actually living in England when I left my marriage.
Dr. Celia Williamson: Oh, wow. And so at 12 years old, you were cooking, you were cleaning, you were taking care of kids. You were also, uh, forced to be sexual with this man.
You were. Also forced to act as a wife, I would imagine during this 90 days and then moved around, uh, what was happening with your family of origin at the time?
Dr. Tamara MC: So my mother was in Arizona and she didn’t know anything about it. She thought that she dropped me off at my dad’s house. So she had no idea. And it was pretty much a secretive marriage when my father picked me up at the end of three months.
Cause I was then going to be flying home. back to Arizona to be with my mother for eighth grade. I also didn’t tell him. And so it was a very secretive marriage. That was actually, we were pretty much married in the dark of night between the hours of 10 and 11 p. m. until four or 5 a. m. every night.
Dr. Celia Williamson: And then when you went home tomorrow, did it to back to your mom’s place?
And did you just go on to eighth grade? And then you assumed like a child? role and did you have friends and activities and those types of things when you’re at your mom’s?
Dr. Tamara MC: Um, it’s yes and no. Yes, I did return back to my normal life because I didn’t have a choice. Um, but I was harboring the biggest secret and so I was not at all the same.
That moment changed my life forever and my life has never been the same. And. When I went back to eighth grade, like before I went, I still had my elementary school friends. It was my first year of middle school. Um, after my laughter, seventh grade, seventh grade was the first year of middle school. And so I still had my elementary school friends.
And when I got married, I had never kissed a boy. Like I had no dreams of marriage. Like I didn’t know anything about myself. I was really a nondescript little girl. Like there was really nothing very extraordinary about me. I wasn’t like great in school. I just was just an average child. And, um, When I came back, I stopped speaking and, um, I, well, initially, well, I, I mean, there’s two sides to it.
I stopped speaking, but then I also became, I ended up having a whole new group of friends in eighth grade that were a lot more promiscuous and a lot, they had a lot more issues than my elementary school friends. And they came from the other middle school and somehow there was a little girl there or an eighth grader there.
who sought me out in our English class. And, um, we ended up becoming best friends and she was in all sorts of trouble. So I really had a very, very difficult eighth grade.
Dr. Celia Williamson: So you kind of had a troubled, uh, a troubled heart and it really attracted you to other kids who may have been troubled. Did, did you go?
Every summer back to your father’s house and back to that other way of life and then you would come back to your mother’s and try to fit in as a, as a normal teenager would.
Dr. Tamara MC: Yes. Yes, I did. I live to completely opposite lifestyles my son I spent four months of the year with my dad. So, um, every summer and then every holiday vacation.
And so that was a month, like in December and January, a little over a month. So over four months of the year, I was with my dad and then the rest of the time I was with my mom. And so the difficult part was that I was. Going back and forth between these two different religions, cultures, rules, lifestyles, everything was polar opposite.
And so that put an extra strain on me just when I got used to my life in Arizona and being a normal child in middle school and then high school, I would then. Fly the next day after school finished and I’d fly right to my dad’s and then I had this marriage that I was dealing with this work I was dealing with and I kept both lives very hidden.
My mom didn’t know about my life and my dad didn’t, I kept my mom, you know, my life with my mom also hidden from my dad in many ways.
Dr. Celia Williamson: And did your dad know about the marriage and that sort of thing that was going on?
Dr. Tamara MC: Initially, no, but with time, yes. Um, so on this cult that we lived in, in Texas, there was many girls and girls started to get married by the time they were 14.
So I was probably the first child bride, but then there was a whole, all of my girlfriends were mostly married at 14 years old. So it wasn’t uncommon. So like when it happened with me, it was. like it was probably one of the first marriages. Um, but then it became very common. So I didn’t it’s so it, so everybody ended up knowing.
Dr. Celia Williamson: Okay. And then did your father, how were you able to get married? Um, or did you ever get married under the eyes of us law? And if you did, um, how were you able to do that?
Dr. Tamara MC: No, I never had, um, a marriage under. the U. S. law and, um, I don’t think many people in our community had that. I don’t even think my dad and stepmom did for years.
Like, it’s just wasn’t something we did. All of the people in our community have religious marriages. We didn’t go to the courthouse to get married.
Dr. Celia Williamson: And then how were you able to get out of this situation? You said when you got older, maybe 20 years old, you finally left. How did that come about?
Dr. Tamara MC: So, of course, it’s a very long drawn out story, but when I was 20 years old.
I had been living with the leader of the Colton in England where he then moved. And I was still working for, he had three wives and I was living in their house. And I was taking care of their six children at this point. And, um, I was doing all of the cooking for his three wives, his mother. Multiple family members and guests and all of these Children and I was cooking two big meals a day and then also like serving breakfast and doing all of the dishes.
And I was in England for almost two years doing this and I think I just, I think by the end of that, I just started, I was exhausted. I think that there was just something in me that was completely exhausted after working for so many years. And, um, my husband at the time was living in America. We also had a separate.
He also lived many places when I lived in different places. So all of our marriage was not together, but, but we always had a letter writing marriage. So we were always in communication by letter or phone. Um, he was living in America for a while when I was living in England and I was sending him letters for quite some time and he wasn’t responding.
And so I kept trying to figure out what was wrong. And I would call him and he wouldn’t tell me. And then the leader of the cult asked me to call him and to tell him to come live in England, like pretty much immediately. And so I called him and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to come. He had just kind of settled into America a little bit.
He had started, um, university at that point. Um, But he ended up coming, and soon after he came, he told me what had actually happened, and the reason he hadn’t been writing or speaking to me, and he told me that he had taken a second wife in America, and so now I was in a polygamist marriage, and so Just shattered my heart.
Like that was like that breaking point because in the community where I grew up, almost all of the men were polygamous and most of my girlfriends who are 14 were married into polygamous situations and usually with much older men and usually a second wives and the first wives were usually the men’s age.
So they were much older. So I had spent years watching all of these guys. Polygamous marriages, like basically erupt because none of them lasted within a couple of years, something would happen. And most of my friends were then left with young babies or young children and no dads. And so I just always knew that like my boundaries were so elusive because I had just grown up the way I had, but I knew one thing that I would never be married in polygamy.
That was like. The one thing I knew, and the second he told me that, um, it changed everything. Um, it absolutely changed everything. And I tried to convince him to leave her and to stay only married to me. And, um, he would not. He said that he loved us both and that he had every right to be married to us both.
And that I would just have to deal with this other woman. And I tried to stay in it, maybe for six months to a year, maybe nine months, I’m not exactly sure, and I tried to work it out, but nothing changed, and, um, and then
Dr. Celia Williamson: Hey, I want to break into this episode for a moment. I want to remind you that survivors of sex trafficking experience trauma as a result.
Trauma informed care is something we learn so that we don’t re traumatize victims. However, trauma informed care will not lower someone’s trauma. We have survivors that need to heal inside. Most quality direct service workers connect survivors to needed services like health care, housing, legal services, and more.
But these services, while necessary, won’t address the internal trauma. Even when we connect them to trauma treatment counselors. They spend about an hour a week addressing traumas that have taken over their entire lives. They need so much more. Connecting someone in needed housing won’t fix the brokenness inside.
Arresting their trafficker allows them justice. But it won’t heal the internal pain. Linking them to a lawyer won’t take them to a place of reclaiming their freedom and experiencing genuine joy. Walking alongside survivors to provide support, nurturing, love, kindness, and to build a relationship is critical, but they also need the tools.
to regain the power, choice and voice internally. Healing the internal pain requires survivors to do the internal work. I’ve worked with and studied the issue for almost 30 years. I recently wrote a book outlining the 12 journeys that survivors need to go on to heal the trauma and to live the life they truly want to live.
I’d love to train you to be a group facilitator leading survivors toward the internal healing they need. The training is the TNT Survivors Journey Group. Let me train you to facilitate these important groups and put survivors On their path to living the life they want and the experience, the freedom and joy they deserve to learn more, go to my website, ciliawilliamson.
com and watch the free webinar to learn more about the course. I look forward to training you and helping you help survivors to heal. And now on with the podcast.
Dr. Tamara MC: My grandfather died in America. He was my step grandfather, but I knew that my grandmother was having a hard time. And so I use that actually as my escape plan.
I told the leader that I needed to go back to America. I needed to be with my grandmother and it was a perfect opportunity for me to leave my marriage, to leave the cult leader and his family. And. At the time, I just knew I had to get away. I thought that I would be returning. Like I thought that I was going to come back and take care of everything, like be with my grandmother and then come back.
But I never, like, I didn’t go back after that. I slowly began to like, see my situation and everything then changed for me.
Dr. Celia Williamson: Yeah. Sometimes when we have to make difficult decisions. We can tell ourselves all kinds of things just so that we can get away because I, and thank you, I am so glad that deep down somewhere in your spirit said, I need to be free.
This is, this is crazy. And so I’m so glad that you took that, that one step that led to the second step and the third step. But I just see you as somebody who. Had no power, voice or choice in your upbringing, upbringing in your life. But how does somebody who has absolutely no, no power, no voice, no choice.
enslaved, basically, to take care of everyone else for years. How does that person go to even, not only just leave their abuser, their exploiter, but then to get a PhD? How does that happen?
Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah, so it’s kind of um, Sorry, it’s kind of a miracle, actually, which I think often life is like these paths, but after I came home in my, um, in my cult, I actually, the one way that I had alone time with my father was he was fluent in Arabic.
And he taught me Arabic from the time I was super young. And I always had this natural ability, but I would have time alone with him. And so the only time alone I ever had with him was when he was giving me Arabic lessons. And so I’d sit there and learn Arabic and I became really good in Arabic. And it just happened that when I came back, like I really had, I was heartbroken over the end of my marriage, completely heartbroken over leaving my community.
Because when I left. I was leaving the work behind, but I was leaving the leader who I thought was my father. He was like my adopted father, his wives, um, in particular, his second wife, who was like, who was like my mother. She was, I can, even though she worked me, like I didn’t under, I didn’t have like the intellect to understand what was actually happening and why she was nice to me in a lot of ways.
Um. But I really loved her, and I loved all of these kids, and I loved the leader’s mother, and I had so many friends and community, and I was, everybody knew of me, and I was also very well loved by everybody, just because I was so, I was always very happy, like on the outside you would never know, I was just always ready to help, and to be there, and whatever it took I would do it, and I was always smiling, and always laughing, and then I went back, and And I lost all of that, like, and so I was completely lost and I ended up becoming a waitress and I was working in waitressing and, um, and then I don’t even know how I learned about it, but I learned that the university where I was, the University of Arizona offered Arabic classes and I was like, University offer Arabic.
I had no idea. Like I didn’t even know that that was a possibility. And then I remember going and finding out that they did and I was like, Oh my goodness, I’m going to take an Arabic class. And so it was a six credit class at the time and it met at 8 a. m. And, um, actually it was a five credit class. And so I took six credits and then I took one credit of aerobics.
And I wanted to do aerobics. It was like the height like it was.
So, so actually my university, um, path began with like aerobics and Arabic, those were like how I began. And when I got into Arabic, I loved it so much. And I loved aerobics so much. And I love the campus. And then I found out they offer a second semester, and then it just evolved. And then, After my first year of Arabic, I found out that I could go study Arabic in Egypt, and so I applied to be an international student at the American University in Cairo, and I went there for a year and I studied, um, Kyrene Arabic, which is its own type of Arabic.
And, um, and before I knew it, I actually graduated college in three years. Like after, I was taking like 27 or more credits a semester. I was just obsessed with learning and that was just the beginning. And then I found out that I could actually. Take a master’s and I could teach English and I came on my mother’s side.
I’m come from a Holocaust survivor family. And so my grandmother didn’t speak English and I had been teaching her English from the time I learned to read when I was five. And so I had been teaching English for so many years. My grandfather also didn’t speak English and in my community, most of. The people that I lived with were from all over the Middle East and Pakistan.
And so I was always teaching English from the time I was like five or six years old. And so I was like, Oh my goodness, I can get a master’s degree and actually like get a degree on how to teach English. And I can teach non native speakers. And so I went to get a master’s. And then from there, I found out that there was a PhD program for linguistics.
And I was like, Oh my goodness, I can do that too. So it was just always a surprise. And I guess I’ve always loved learning and I’m so curious. And that was, that was pretty much my pathway of how I got through. It was not at all planned. It was never like I’m getting this PhD. It was just, I had this saying when I went through a divorce, I went through a divorce 12 years ago, and I was just.
so overwhelmed. And I put this saying up on my book, uh, up like on my fridge and everything. And it said actions answer. And I think that that’s exactly what I did when I was getting out is one action leads to an answer. And then the next action leads to another answer because To think about how you’re going to get from point A to point B is so overwhelming.
But just to think like, okay, this is the one thing I need to do right now. And I find that when I know what that thing is, because I always know what that one thing is, then that thing will lead me to the next thing. And that’s how I ended up getting a PhD.
Dr. Celia Williamson: I think that’s great advice, even for people that are listening today.
You may not know the entire picture. You may not be able to see all the way down the path or around the corner, but you typically always do know the next step. And I think, you know, a brilliant mind needs to be nourished. And so you were just chasing after each class, each class. I mean, I could hear the passion about learning.
And so. When did you come to the idea that you’d like to write a book, which is what you’re working on now, um, about your life experience?
Dr. Tamara MC: Yeah, that’s, that’s also another great question. Um, so when my grandmother was 94 years old when she died, and that was about 12 years ago. And she was my Holocaust survivor grandmother, my greatest mentor who came out of the Holocaust.
Never hating anyone and only having tremendous love. And I was so fortunate because she shared her story with me throughout her life. And she was always my example of strength and resiliency and love. And after she broke her hip and was in the hospital and she actually reverted back to the Holocaust.
And, um, She began only speaking in Yiddish, which is her, which is, um, her native language. And she would speak to me and she would always tell, like, she was screaming to me that the SS officers were after us. And I was with her during that time. And so I was working on my PhD at the time. So I always, I still carry a backpack with a computer at all times.
Like that’s how you people know me. I always have very colorful, fun backpacks. And so I remember I was in her hospital room and I just took out my computer and I thought I was going to do something else. And then I just started like transcribing what she was saying. And then every time I was in the hospital, which I was there two or three times a day, I just started writing when I was in her hospital room.
And then she ended up dying. And then my husband at the time who I was married to for nearly 18 years asked for a divorce within a few days of her dying. And so both of those things happened at the exact same time. And I just ended up writing through my divorce, writing through her death. And before I knew I had this memoir and I didn’t even know I had never in my life written a book.
I didn’t even dream of writing a book at that point. And I just looked at it at the end and I had 90k words, 90, 000 words, and I had a memoir and I just remember I was like, what did I just do? And so I knew somebody in Arizona who was a writer who was like the head of like our community college writing.
And I sent her my manuscript and I was like, Is this a book? Like I just didn’t even know. And she wrote me back and she’s like, Yes, this is a book. And I was like, Oh my goodness, I just wrote a book. And, um, since then I’ve been writing. nonstop. I have written, nothing’s really published of any of my books, but I’ve probably written about 10 books at this point, thousands and thousands of pages of poems and essays and all sorts of hybrid writing.
Um, and again, it just, it wasn’t planned, but writing has been what has saved me through everything. Writing has always It’s been my savior on my commune. And actually during my marriage, I couldn’t write because I could never have evidence of what was happening to me. And so I like locked it all inside.
But after my grandmother died and after my divorce and after everything that happened to me in the cult and my child marriage, like everything was able to come back up. And so I think that’s so important because I think I thought that everything was lost, but I would just like to say to everyone out there.
That nothing is actually lost. Like once you put your pen to paper or your fingers to your computer, you are going to learn things and you’re going to remember things that you never knew until you actually go through the process and so nothing is lost. And so I just, I think writing is the greatest writing is my best friend.
It’s greater than any human being. It’s greater than like. Anything I could put, like it’s greater than any prayer or any meditation. Writing hits a place in ourselves that is so deep that can uncover. The most important stories, aspects of ourselves. So, so I think, right. So that’s how I ended up getting to writing my book.
Dr. Celia Williamson: And we have to get these, these books published so that you can share it with the world. I think the world needs some of that healing as well. So Tamara, are you open to presenting your story? You know, if somebody is looking for a presenter, are you open to that sort of thing?
Dr. Tamara MC: Yes. Yes. I’m absolutely open.
And I think like, um, you mentioned it in the beginning, but I was basically a selective mute for most of the 50 years of my life. I didn’t speak unless I was spoken to. And I’ve always been very quiet. I’m a listener and I’m still like that. I’m not good in social groups. I’m always the one listening and taking everything in.
Um, but I just turned 50 in July and. I just decided before I turned 50, like when I was like 49, I, I just decided that I get, I’m not going to be silent anymore that for this next 50 years of my life, God willing, whatever amount of time I have, um, that I do want to share my story and. I do want to be able to present and I don’t want to be afraid to speak.
I’ve always been so afraid to speak and it’s just so important and, and it’s important to me because I want to be an example that, that if I’m able to speak, that others can also speak and we can tell our own truths. And I think each time one person tells their truth, the world becomes more expansive and Each one of our stories is so, so needed to help understand and to, to create empathy and compassion because all of us have been through trauma of our own, regardless if we’ve had a child marriage or like, like me, like I was a child domestic servant, and maybe they’re not, they’re not those traumas, but each of us has our own trauma and sharing our stories It’s so important because I think secrets are more harmful
Dr. Celia Williamson: secrets. Keep us sick. So thank you so much Tamara. This has been an amazing time that we’ve spent together and you have dropped so many jewels for people to pick up and put in their crown. Uh, I’m just so happy that you are doing what you do, and I think you’ve spoken a lot. It’s just through the written word, and now you’re moving to do more, uh, verbal presentations.
And so if people are interested in getting in touch with you, and they want to follow up and see, you know, how your books are coming along, I know one of your books, the working title so far is Child Bride. Um, but where can people get in touch with you?
Dr. Tamara MC: Yes. Yes. So, so my current book, although I’ve written a lot, I’ve been working several years on my book, my book, which is called child bride, which is actually about my child marriage from the time I’m 12 until the time I leave when I’m 20.
And it’s also about me living in the cult leader’s house and being a modern day slave for him as a child domestic servant. And so, so that’s, so that’s the book that I’m hoping to get out. first and to find me, um, you can find me online at Tamara MC PhD. Um, I’m on Twitter, I’m on Instagram, Facebook, and I also have a website tomorrow, mc.
com, and I would love to be in contact with anybody that would like to do collaborations or would like to have me as a. speaker or to be on a show. I absolutely want to share my story and be there for, for all of you who would like to, who would just basically like to, to feel, I don’t have the exact word, but to feel To feel as if you’re not alone in your trauma, that there are so many of us here and that I just want us to band together and create this beautiful community like Celia has done.
And, and just to, to not whisper, but to shout our stories.
Dr. Celia Williamson: Yeah. Thank you so much tomorrow for your bravery and your courage.
Dr. Tamara MC: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so appreciative. Thank you so much.
Dr. Celia Williamson: That was Tamara talking about her experience as a child involved in a marriage. And, you know, according to the United Nations, child enforced marriage is a human rights violation.
It’s a harmful practice that disproportionately affects women and girls globally, preventing them from living their lives free from all forms of violence. Child enforced marriage threatens the lives and the futures of girls and women around the world. It robs them of their agency to make decisions.
About their own lives, it disrupts their education. It makes them more vulnerable to violence, discrimination and abuse, and it prevents their full participation in the economic, political and social process. It’s often accompanied by early and frequent pregnancy and childbirth. resulting in higher than average maternal morbidity and mortality rates.
Women and girls involved in this situation often attempt to flee their communities or even to commit suicide to avoid or escape their marriage. Tamara was resilient and she was able to survive, not only survive, but to thrive. And she did so through her writing. Writing was her, her therapy, her escape.
You know, Ernest Hemingway, one of the Greatest writers in the world said write hard and clear about what hurts. Some people say if you don’t get it off your chest, you’ll never be able to fully breathe. What would you write about if you were unafraid? According to the United Nations today, there are 650 million women who were married as children.
Until next time, the fight continues. Let’s not just do something, let’s do the best thing. If you like this episode of Emancipation Nation, please subscribe and I’ll send you the weekly podcast. Until then, the fight continues.
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