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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Microstory 1158: Sila Demir

When Sila Nacar was thirteen years old, she was sold as a wife. All things considered, her husband was a nice man. He treated her kindly, and never abused her, except when he did. He wasn’t violent or cruel, but he did have sex with a child, regardless of Turkey’s stance on child marriage. The fact that they even refer to it as child marriage proves that they know it’s wrong. Before he was even sure Sila was pregnant, her husband decided he wanted a better life for them in the United States, so they immigrated to Oklahoma. It wasn’t the most lenient of states when it came to child brides, but it was a little less racist than some of the others, and he wanted to be insulated on all sides. Sila birthed her first son, Serkan in 2009. Four years later, she was pregnant again, with Alim. Over the years, living in North America changed Sila’s husband worldview. It happened slowly, but steadily. He started to actually change as a person, and the birth of his second son pushed him over the edge. He came from a society where his behavior was socially acceptable, to a degree, but he never thought that women were inferior, or that he was entitled to a young wife. He had rationalized that she wanted to be with him, and it took a long time for him to learn that this was not entirely true. The more he woke up, the more he saw how unhappy she was, and the more he wanted to do something about it. He figured the best thing he could do was to leave. He gave her practically all of his money and encouraged her to move far away from him. He even suggested she legally change her and her sons’ names, so he would not be able to find them. In his mind, this was what was best for the three of them. While he didn’t think he would hurt them if he could find them, he no longer wanted to support the distasteful practice that he once believed in. She was grateful for what he gave her, but didn’t take it that far. She retained his name, trusting that he would stay away, and wanting to honor him for having become a better person. Years later, after both of their children were teenagers, Sila’s husband broke his promise, and found her in Kansas City. He had met someone age-appropriate, but his marriage to her was still technically valid, so he needed a divorce. The judge was disagreeable, and didn’t consider their long estrangement to be good enough reason to grant divorce with only one-party consent. The two of them did not have to reunite with each other, though, as this could all have been done through counsel, but Sila wanted to see him again. They had both grown since then, and she kind of wanted to know how things turned out on his end. She never intended for either of her children to be there when it happened, but life doesn’t always end up how you like it.

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