I am a 25-year-old Muslim woman and have spent my life living as safely and as strictly as possible just to ensure that I don’t end up getting raped for playing outside my home, walking to the bus, going grocery shopping or simply getting a medical check-up.
From an early age, I was taught to fear the two-and-a-half-legged devils that roamed outside my home and sometimes even inside because who are we to know what goes on in someone’s mind – if they do something I will end up being ‘used and unworthy’ but they will get out of it unscathed because that’s just how society has moulded us to think. I never had a touchy/huggy relationship with any of my male relatives and even my father – I think the last time I hugged him was when I was still under 10.
Although, my family is what many may consider modern and nothing bad (physically) ever happened to anyone I knew at a personal level during my childhood – the society and re-enactments on television just punched me back into submission to paranoia. I lay in the pandora’s box to get lost and go as numb to feelings of safety when in the presence of men as humanely probable. I still remember trying to run on the stairs in my school because a peon was going the same way but was behind me and just that anxiety of having him running up made me slip midway.
I watched AlRawabi School for Girls and was kind of impressed that the women in Jordon are allowed to show as much skin as they did, in my country, they simply kill people in the name of blasphemy like picking apples from the trees. If a girl is harassed or raped they tell us it’s their fault, they should have known better. Sadly, I also did believe it for quite some time until I unlearned what I had been taught and started calling a spade a spade.
‘Women know the eyes of men – they know who they shouldn’t trust’.
‘Women know it’s their duty to protect and cover themselves’.
‘God will punish women who say no to their husbands when they want sex’.
‘There will be more women in hell than men’.
‘Women should stay at home. Women shouldn’t be that educated. Women should be married as soon as they complete 12th grade or else they will start getting wrong ideas of freedom’.
There’s just so much to unpack when it comes to living in a victim-blaming nation. A woman would be gang raped in the middle of the night on the motorway and they would ask why she was travelling at night. She will be murdered and beheaded by an ex who manipulated her into a meeting and kidnapped her and they will still ask why she even went to meet him. Over 500 men would end up sexually exploiting a single woman on Independence Day in a public park and they would still let go of the issue being the problematic behaviour of men wanting in on this act and just blame her for exploiting the situation and cashing it out. They would be happy she got to jail for the premeditated crime she probably plotted with 10, 20 or maybe even 100 people but would not even think how the others only joined after seeing those who were a part of the act. No one tried to stop it, they didn’t try to save her – they all just want to assault her and there are medical reports to prove it too but oh who am I to think with my tiny little brain?
The idea of being a woman for me personally has now become very taxing, most times an event of this sort comes under the limelight – the women in my circle start telling each other how they are just waiting to die now. Being an empath is hard and being one in this country is even harder – you can’t go to a therapist because who knows if they are sexist or feministic. If you talk too much about women’s rights then you are probably a slut and want to walk the streets naked. Your friend’s fiancé would tell her to stop talking to you because they fear your ‘bold and free’ mindset.
If you are not fasting in Ramzan due to whatever health reasons and end up being seen eating or drinking – you’re a bad woman who has probably left the religion and if you question why Allah will make me inferior to a man – you are questioning God himself. How dare you!
And if you do everything right but still end up getting harassed or murdered or raped – you should have known self-defense!! Here – take this taser and pepper spray, we can’t ask our boys to be better who have also been instructed by the same God to be humans and not dehumanise others but please take care of yourself. You know, boys will be boys.
If you kill yourself you’re a coward, if you don’t marry anyone you’re probably not worth it – no one picked you, haha! If you do marry and get divorced because you were physically abused – you probably did something wrong. Why can’t you just compromise a little?
And it goes on and on, the statements, the blame, the hatred just doesn’t stop. What is life if I have to spend it living in my home with my cats just to make sure I don’t end up becoming the next #justicefor hashtag?
When I tippy-toed into the professional lifestyle after completing my English Literature, I thought I had it all. I had hacked the system as the few lucky women do and now I can be free. Two years in and even though I am succeeding at work, over-achieving my KPIs and targets – the praise I got is probably because I may have offered sexual favours to the boss-man.
This one time, a female colleague, I and our Head of Department went out to pick wristwatches as a recognition gift for the recently promoted Assistant Mangers (all men). I received call after call asking where I had gone, and who I was with from those who were at the office. It was a surprise, I just brushed it off saying just out. Will talk later and to my astonishment when I came back – I had gone for a threesome with the boss-man. No wonder he’s nice to me!? The biggest problem here was that despite knowing what was going on and how it would create a toxic environment for the women – my boss would just smirk at such comments when asked. He wouldn’t call anyone out but instead liked being thought of as the stud of the floor.
My friend told a male colleague she was not interested in him and he went about telling everyone that she’s a prostitute and funnily – all the men believed him! The guy would propose to a different girl every time – be turned down and then go character assassinate them in front of the male members who had a 90% population there in comparison to ours and he was believed every single time. It’s times like this when you start to question if all the good that you had done and been in life was worth it, no guy will step forward if you’d like to pursue a legal case. The office would try to shush you and if you still can’t be ‘handled’ the HR would just find a reason to terminate you. So by 2020, I had it figured that I didn’t really hack any system, it’s the same everywhere.
And I guess the only time I did manage to let it all be was when I learned to go numb to everything and everyone because otherwise – there’s not many times a person can be broken. Now I am a fully functioning blob of flesh that recognizes itself as a female but would rather spend the entire life staying numb and single than opening the floodgates of emotions.
This has been going on since forever – calling women witches and then burning them to satisfy male egos, and I guess there’s nothing we can do about it other than just sitting at home and waiting to embrace death in this r*p*stan.
P.S: the nameless characters mentioned in this content are fictional in case someone feels like confronting me or filing a suit and are 100% real for those who can relate to my situation – because at the end of the day who knows if a woman is speaking the truth or not, right?