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I WILL Not BE SILENT

I speak out when somebody is being abused or victimized. I don’t care who the abuser is or what position they are in; I stand up to them. My childhood shaped me to be this way.

I was born in Pakistan, the youngest of 10 kids. My family is Indian. My father had an arranged marriage with my mother. When Burma became communist, they fled, which led to our family moving to the San Fernando Valley. In this new country, we were what I’d call ‘American poor,’ until my high school years when my parents’ business matured.

But as things got better for our family on the outside, extreme darkness played out on the inside. As a result, I became increasingly depressed and made my first suicide attempt at 10, then again at 16.

I was being bullied and teased a lot through elementary and middle school because I looked different in a sea of white kids. I was also ridiculed for being the only Muslim. Teachers allowed it to happen and sometimes joined in.

But the real hardship was at home, where the frightening bully presided.

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I was born in Pakistan, the youngest of 10 kids. My family is Indian. My father had an arranged marriage with my mother. When Burma became communist, they fled, which led to our family moving to the San Fernando Valley. In this new country, we were what I’d call ‘American poor,’ until my high school years when my parent’s business matured.

But as things got better for our family on the outside, extreme darkness played out on the inside. As a result, I became increasingly depressed and made my first suicide attempt at 10, then again at 16.

I was being bullied and teased a lot through elementary and middle school because I looked different in a sea of white kids. I was also ridiculed for being the only Muslim. Teachers allowed it to happen and sometimes joined in.

But the real hardship was at home, where the frightening bully presided.

My Father Was Terrifying

My father abused me, and my mother allowed it to happen.

Ever since I can remember, my father was my tormentor. He was physically abusive, rough with his angered touch, never gentle or loving by any means.
He was verbally abusive. He’d say the vilest things to me, calling me every awful term imaginable, until I felt small and worthless.

The man who was supposed to build me up and keep me safe tore me down with physical and verbal abuse.

My father made me afraid to tell anyone. I was ashamed about it. I felt all alone.

At age 10, I made my first suicide attempt.

My mother knew about this abuse; my father was inflicting it on her and the family. Unfortunately, she stayed silent.

His abuse and my mother’s silence shaped me.

I Always Wanted To Be A Lawyer

I always chose to be a lawyer in my youth when we played The Game of Life. A lawyer is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be. Even as a child, I saw it as a way to stand up for others.

Obviously, my personal experience with abuse is why I am a lawyer for people victimized or hurt. But there’s also another reason… Witnessing my father abusing other family members continually, and doing nothing. That experience cemented my resolve to speak up for victims of abuse.

I applied myself diligently in school and moved to San Diego for college. I graduated from California Western Law School. Then, after working for a large class action law firm, I started my firm to be free from the limitations of male-dominated work culture. I founded the firm in 2008.

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The quality of our firm’s work speaks for itself. We have a stellar reputation. We’ve earned the respect of other plaintiffs’ lawyers, opposing counsel, and judges. I take a particular interest in cases about sexual harassment, sex abuse, gender discrimination, race discrimination, discrimination of any sort.

In our society, too often, people expect that because they’re rich, powerful, or the boss, they get a pass from the rules of human decency. We stand up to those people because they don’t get a pass. The rules apply to everyone.

Life TODAY

My childhood was rough, but today, my past does not define me. I’ve done a lot of self-work, and I’m in a good place mentally and emotionally. My life today reflects how much I’ve healed from the wounds that almost broke me. My husband and I are celebrating 20 years of marriage. Our daughter is ten. Life is wonderful, full of fun, travel and good friends.

Contrary to what my dad wanted me to feel, my life has a great purpose.

I wake up every day passionate about taking a stand for people who are being victimized or hurt.

I will not be silent.

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Fueling Triumph
from Trauma

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