A woman held hostage by the Taliban for years with her husband has accused him of violent acts of abuse, including beating her, tying her up and biting her, after the pair were rescued from captivity.
Caitlan Coleman, 33, took the stand to detail graphic physical abuse she says she suffered at the hands of Joshua Boyle, 35, even providing the court with a handwritten list of rules her husband had written for her requiring her to sleep nude, take cold showers and plan “interesting sex” at least twice a week once the couple had returned to their home in Canada, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
“You must ask for chastising every time you think you have failed,” the note said, also including columns that set targets for Coleman’s weight and goals for the number of times Boyle ejaculated each week.
Boyle is facing 19 charges, including sexual assault, after Coleman said she was able to escape from the home to a nearby pizza shop to contact authorities, the Canadian news organization CBC reports.
Boyle has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
The pair were both captured by a group with ties to the Taliban in 2012 while they were backpacking across Afghanistan. They were held in captivity for five years and gave birth to three children before Pakistani forces freed them in 2017, Fox News reports.
Coleman has said that Boyle was physically abusive before the couple was captured, but that the behavior only continued in captivity with Boyle acting “just like my captors.” She testified that Boyle choked, bit and spanked her as punishment, according to The Guardian.
Sometimes he’d force her to stay in the bathroom area for hours while in captivity because he couldn’t stand the sight of her. She called the experience “the darkest period of my whole life.”
According to her, the abuse didn’t end when the family returned home. She detailed one frightening experience where she said Boyle attacked her after she had refused anal sex.
“I was feeling I can’t do this anymore. I suggested to Josh I was going to take the children and leave,” she testified according to the Ottawa Citizen.
But Boyle, she said, got “extremely angry” and hit her in the face. She said she tried to leave the apartment, but was knocked to the ground before being ordered back to the bedroom to take off all her clothes.
“I wasn’t resisting him,” Coleman said. “I was very scared of him, so I was just doing what he was telling me to do.”
Coleman, who testified on a video screen while sitting in another room in the court house, said Boyle then tied her up using ropes he kept in a bag near the bed, binding her wrists behind her back and her ankles together before forcing intercourse.
After the alleged assault, she said he refused to untie her telling her that he couldn’t trust her. She eventually freed herself from the ropes.
“Looking back, I should have tried to leave,” she said, “but I just didn’t. I just lay down.”
She also testified about a time where she was forced to take a powerful sleeping medication while he looked on.
As part of the rules allegedly created for her at home, she was required to address her children as “sir” and “madam” so that she clearly understood that she was beneath everyone. The rules also required her to count the calories she consumed and participate in heavy exercise.
Coleman testified that she made the decision to leave in December 2017 after Boyle told her he planned to keep her in the couple’s bedroom and that she wouldn’t be allowed to leave without his permission.
She left the apartment and after unsuccessfully trying to get help at a neighbor’s she went to a nearby pizza shop where the employees helped her contact authorities and paid for a cab for her to go to her mother’s hotel nearby.
Defense attorney Lawrence Greenspoon began his cross examination late Monday morning.
He questioned Coleman about a series of posts she had made in a Star Wars forum as a teenager where she described herself as angry and prone to fits of rage.
The trial is expected to last about eight weeks.
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