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FAIZA'S JUSTICE—Her Justice frees South Asian woman from her controlling, abusive husband and his family

Faiza*, a 38-year-old South Asian woman, first came to Her Justice seeking help in obtaining a divorce from her manipulative and abusive husband. Her marriage had been arranged and, as is customary in her culture, Faiza lived with her husband and his family.

She became pregnant about a year into the marriage. Early in the pregnancy she had a miscarriage and was taken to the hospital. When Faiza returned, emotionally and physically fragile, her mother-in-law began to argue with her and shoved her in the abdomen which was still painful from the hospital procedure. Her husband refused to fill her prescription for pain killers—instead, he told her she could no longer stay in the home. He drove her to the airport that night and left her there with a ticket for a flight the following day to Syracuse where her sister lived. Faiza spent the night alone in the airport without food, water, money or medication for her pain.

Her husband came to visit Faiza in Syracuse several months later. He told her everything would be all right and that he would bring her back to their home soon. Faiza did not wait for him; her sister secured a job in New York City and together they moved to the Bronx. Her husband soon visited and convinced her to move back into their home. However, her mother-in-law was angry and would not let her stay—so Faiza moved back into her sister’s house.

Faiza’s husband visited her every day and told her he was sorting things out with his family. He ate her food and had sex with her, which she felt obligated to consent to, as he insisted they would be together again shortly. This manipulation and exploitation went on for months until Faiza realized that her husband had no intention of supporting her and was just using her for sex.

Faiza had heard about Her Justice from a friend and Her Justice connected her with a legal team from Winston & Strawn LLP.

The Winston & Strawn team demonstrated not only excellent legal expertise but also great cultural sensitivity in representing Faiza and obtaining her divorce. As part of her dowry, Faiza’s family had given her husband gifts of valuable jewelry at their wedding. During the divorce proceedings, her husband’s family claimed that she had taken the jewelry with her when she moved out, although she had not. Faiza’s legal team painstakingly researched the value of each individual piece of jewelry, resulting in a higher financial settlement to help Faiza begin a new life.

Faiza received a significant amount of spousal support and, in addition, $6,000 in equitable distribution to compensate her for the stolen jewelry. Today, Faiza supports herself by working in a beauty salon. Recently she wrote to Her Justice:

“Her Justice freed me from an abusive relationship and gave me the financial means to start a new life. But the money isn’t the most important thing—it’s the freedom that they have given me to live my life with self-respect and dignity. I was scared, lonely and weak but your prompt and thorough attention made me strong and confident.”

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*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.