Sharon Churchill, the 41-year-old from New Zealand, suffered whippings, beatings and emotional abuse from her "Egyptian" husband of five months -- a man she once called the love of her life -- and started sleeping with a steel pipe for protection. Protection from the sharia, but but but the sharia protects us, isn't that what we're clubbed with daily?
Ms Churchill has words of advice for any woman considering a holiday romance in the Middle East: "Have a fling with them, [but] don't get into a relationship. Once you enter into any contract of marriage, you become their property." Pamela Geller has words of advice for any woman considering a holiday romance in the Middle East: commit yourself to an institution immediately. You are not well. Clearly any such act would indicate an intention to inflict bodily harm on oneself.
OE romance: Kiwi beaten, starved NZ Herald, March 9, 2012
Beaten with a slave whip, starved and scared, Kiwi Sharon Churchill believes she would still be a hostage of her Egyptian husband if it wasn't for a team of New Zealand diplomats who helped her to escape.
The 41-year-old from Tirau in Waikato suffered emotional abuse and beatings from her husband of five months - a man she once called the love of her life - and started sleeping with a steel pipe for protection.
But on February 14, she escaped, with the help of embassy staff in Cairo, and is now warning other women about the dangers of holiday romances.
In letters she has sent to the Prime Minister and other ministers, Ms Churchill credits the diplomats with saving her life by working with Egyptian authorities to get her out of the house and on a flight home.
However, her ex-husband denies the claims, saying he never assaulted her and that problems in their relationship were her fault.
"In other countries the man feel the woman she don't respect him and I find that in her. It's not my fault."
Speaking out for the first time since arriving home, she said she was still recovering from an ordeal that had left her with physical and emotional scars and $30,000 out of pocket.
Ms Churchill said there was no hint of what was to come when she met her future husband, a restaurant owner, in the popular diving village of Dahab in Egypt's South Sinai 10 months ago.
A former Carter Holt Harvey manager, she was on a "dream trip" with a friend after taking a year out from work.
Ms Churchill met the "bubbly, funny, witty" man on her second-to-last night in Dahab and they had a brief romance. "I don't usually do that sort of thing but I thought it would be a nice little fling."
She didn't think any more about it until she returned to New Zealand and he continued to contact her. Soon, they were talking for hours every day.
When he suggested she return to Egypt in July, "I thought, why not?"
For seven weeks, the couple spent every moment together and quickly fell in love. "We were besotted."
Speaking from Egypt, her ex-husband said he had felt the same way and she was his "dream woman".
Ms Churchill had to cut the trip short because her mother fell ill, but before leaving, the couple signed a handwritten marriage contract.
She returned home briefly and then - in a decision "completely" out of character - packed up her life and flew back to Egypt to her husband.
Three weeks later, they had an argument. "He just came after me and he grabbed me and gave me a backhander around the face. He punched my arms and I ended up on the ground and he smashed my head into the ground about three times."
The relationship between Ms Churchill and her husband worsened and eventually it was one of hostage and captor, she said.
"There were a couple of days I didn't have water or food. I lost 12kg in six weeks. It was semi-starvation."
One hellish night in February, fearing for her safety, Ms Churchill slept on the roof with a steel pipe.
"He came up with an Egyptian slave whip and beat me with it. It cut my arms open and my legs were severely bruised. I was screaming, 'Help me', and he said, 'No one's going to help you'. I knew he would kill me before he would let me out."
Unbeknown to her husband, Ms Churchill had dialled the embassy for help. When staff picked up the phone, they heard the commotion.[...]
She was taken to a police station, where she divorced her husband.
Ms Churchill has words of advice for any woman considering a holiday romance in the Middle East: "Have a fling with them, [but] don't get into a relationship. Once you enter into any contract of marriage, you become their property."