Dima Ghawi: From Being A Victim To A Survivor And An Inspiration
Dima Ghawi has an extremely inspiring story from being a submissive coy girl to a lady motivating people around the world to rise above their circumstances. Her story has so many twists and turns like a completely entertaining movie. Dima escaped confinements, shattered barriers, crossed continents to discover and create a bold identity for herself and find the true purpose of life.
Dima hails from Turkey, in the Middle East world which is quite conservative. In her family, she was taught from childhood to be a well-discilplined girl i.e. to follow the males, be meek, and submissive. Dima Ghawi felt constrained by the Middle Eastern culture, community, and family expectations that expected her to be devoid of any personal identity. The journey and route of her life were determined by others. Even her value was based on how others judged her. What mattered the most was taking care of the family honor by her in all what she did.
“As a young girl, I was taught about the expectations,” “I wasn’t supposed to have any voice or identity. I wasn’t allowed to leave the house alone until I was 18, and the only reason I was allowed to leave alone was to go to the university.” Dima Ghawi
Dima Ghawi studied Economics at the University of Jordan. At the young age of 19, she was introduced to a guy whom she would be married to by her parents and relatives. Of course, she was married to the same man as ‘he liked her’. In 1996, Dima moved to the United States with her husband. She thought moving to the western world would bring her some freedom. But all her dreams of freedom shattered the Middle Eastern culture followed her here too. Her husband had a conservative thinking like other men of his country. To quote Dima, “When we first got married, I was so happy and excited. I was 20 and I asked him, ‘Why did you marry me?’” “He said, ‘Oh because you are like the dough. I can shape you the way I want.’” She was expected to be a submissive housewife taking care of her husband, in-laws and the household. She wasn’t allowed to talk to her parents for more than 20 minutes a week. Dima felt suffocated. In Dima’s words, “The weight of these suffocating external forces consumed me, left me paralyzed with fear, and grasping for a sense of identity.”
Dima Ghawi realized after a long time that she should assert her choice and that her life is precious, a fact she was never told by her family! Dima realized that to leave her husband’s home forever would be risky and need a lot of courage. Still, she resolved to change her destiny and discover her true identity, even if she had to stand alone. She was ready to face the consequences of her bold decision. Her father wanted to kill her for bringing a bad reputation to their family. But Dima walked out of her confining marriage and felt free for the first time in her life.
At the age of 25, Dima Ghawi after leaving her husband shifted into a one bedroom apartment in San Diego. As her father was furious at her decision, he threatened to kill her mother and sister if Dima didn’t go back to her husband. She helped her mom and sister to escape from Jordan to save their lives. With her mother and sister by her side, Dima decided to pursue her master’s degree at the University of San Diego.
“That is when my world shifted,” “For the first time, I was interacting with people my age and learning about things I was passionate about. My eyes started opening up.” Dima Ghawi
At the university, a professor encouraged Dima to be a leader in a student organization. “I was raised to be a follower, but that is when I discovered, for the first time ever, that I actually have a leadership skill, that I enjoy developing people, that I enjoy creating strategies,” says Dima. These leadership skills helped Dima grab a position in IBM’s leadership development program almost a year before she graduated.
Her job in IBM enabled Dima to visit various new places in the world and to get precious global leadership experience. Dima shattered the limitations that chained her. She began a new journey in her life. After 18 years of global corporate experience and the horrific trials of her personal journey she successfully established her own consulting company. In her motivational speeches, Dima Ghawi combines her corporate expertise with her own personal narratives to captivate and motivate her audiences, by reaching into the depths of people’s minds, hearts, and unkindled aspirations and sharing a vision of hope, courage, and wild possibilities. She knows the foundation of empowerment is knowledge and believes the world is hungry for effective leaders who can be agents of change.
It’s time to shatter your limitations and be courageous – join me as we grow into the leaders of tomorrow. Dima Ghawi
“With every speech I give, everything I touch, I am bringing my story,” “My motive is not to only share the story but to use it to help people rise and become better and become motivated to live the life they deserve.” Dima Ghawi