Bestselling author, domestic-violence survivor coming to Faculty

March 06, 2020

Samra Zafar had big dreams. She was planning to go to university. But, her dreams were taken away from her when she was forced into an arranged marriage.

She was 17.

Zafar’s nightmare as a child bride was only beginning. She was forced to leave Pakistan with her husband for Canada, which isolated Zafar from her family back home. 

Her husband insisted the marriage was a fulfillment of her dreams. It wasn’t. Instead, the marriage descended into abuse.

“A good wife: Escaping the life I never chose”
Keynote speaker: Samra Zafar
Thursday, March 12
5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Faculty of Education
Register today

Zafar is coming to the Faculty of Education to share her story. She will detail how she overcame years of abuse to be recognized as one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women and one of Canada’s top 25 immigrants in 2019.

Zafar’s passion and determination to pursue her education led to her journey towards freedom. Determined to overcome the abuse, Zafar completed her high school education and was accepted to university.

“Education was my only refuge from my dark thoughts,” explained Zafar. “I focused all my energy on school.”

While at university, Zafar had an epiphany when she attended a counselling session and described the abuse she was experiencing.

“It’s not your fault,” the counsellor told her.

“It was the first time anyone had said that to me,” said Zafar. “I realized that what had happened to me was wrong.”

While Zafar excelled at university, the emotional, verbal and physical abuse escalated to the point where she thought she would die.  Realizing she didn’t want her daughters to grow up thinking abuse was normal and then have it emulated in their lives, Zafar ended the marriage.

Zafar turned her experiences into a memoir, “A good wife: Escaping the life I never chose.” It became a bestseller and is being adapted into a televisions series.

She’s also working to establish Brave Beginnings, a non-profit organization in the Greater Toronto Area that will match women who have escaped oppression with mentors who are empathetic and caring. The women will receive personal support, motivation, friendship from their mentor, which will help them rebuild their lives, reach their goals and live with respect, dignity, freedom and happiness. She hopes the organization will become operational later this year.

This free event is in recognition of International Women’s Day and it also honours the 40th anniversary of the London Coordinating Committee to End Woman Abuse.