Samra Zafar, a human rights activist, author, social entrepreneur, and international public speaker, begins her talk on domestic abuse by asking her audience to imagine themselves trapped in a dark box that they feel they'll never escape. She uses this exercise to give them a better idea of what abuse feels like.
She continues by telling her audience about her dreams of achieving an elite education, and how her vision contrasted with the actions taken by her family, who forced her to move to Canada and marry a man when she was just 16 years old. Shortly after marrying this man, she became pregnant. At the same time, she was emotionally and physically abused, and made to feel small in every regard so that she had little self-worth.
Despite the actions of her abuser, she managed to finish her education, which in-turn empowered her to come to the realization that she deserved better. This caused her to seek out some of the resources that were available to her. Eventually, she was able to take her children and walk away from her abuser.
In sharing her story, Zafar aims to show others like her that there are resources available to them that can help them to find the strength they need to leave. In addition, she shows that abuse is never the fault of the victim, and that education is a key factor in preventing its spread. A large part of this is talking to children about healthy relationships, boundaries, authentic connection, empathy, and respect -- which is incredibly important in a time where children start dating very young.
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