Basira Haidari arrived in Sacramento three years ago from Afghanistan and vowed to stand up to her husband if he abused her. That pledge broke her family apart.
Basira had watched women in Kabul beaten or even killed for speaking their minds or marrying the person they chose. She wanted to take advantage of her new freedoms in the U.S. but was unfamiliar with the rules here.
She and her husband Omid moved to a Skyview Villa apartment in Arden Arcade with their daughter Raheel. She gave birth to her son Subhan about two years later.
As she had feared, arguments with Omid turned physical, and he recalled they often argued about little things. On Jan. 22, he said, his wife took $300 from his wallet without asking him. He confronted her and slapped her in the face, he said. She hit him back.
The fighting escalated. The next day, she called 911 for help. She didn’t know how to get a restraining order against her husband. She didn’t know her case would be turned over to Sacramento County Child Protective Services.
She didn’t know she would lose the custody of her children.
Her struggle to regain that custody has called attention to what has long been unspoken – culturally sanctioned domestic violence in the homes of Afghan refugees living in Northern California.
Read the whole story in the Sacramento Bee