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When I learned to speak, I was told:

When I learned to speak, I was told: "We don't want to hear your voice"

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إقرأ باللغة العربية:

عندما تعلّمت الكلام، قالوا لي: "ما بدنا نسمع صوتك"


No one believed me when I said he harassed me, and that's why I remained silent the next time and the next... and the next.

When I learned to speak, they told me, "We don't want to hear your voice" more than anything else. And when I started school, I once answered a short question with a long response. It was the last time I was allowed to speak in class. After that, I told my father that I wanted to become a journalist so that no one would be able to silence me. He turned pale and made a joke that terrified me and continues to do so to this day, "Looks like you want to humiliate us in police stations at an old age."

No one believed me when I said he harassed me, and that's why I remained silent the next time.. and the next. When I learned to speak, I was told, "We don't want to hear your voice" more than anything else. At school, I was only allowed to speak in class once

I was a child, and they said, "I'll cut out your tongue." I was a teenager, and they cut my hair and my words because they stated what shouldn't be spoken. And as a journalist, they cut off my hands and my tongue and tore off my wings. Now I am a girl who chokes on her own tongue before she can utter a word, but I understood that: Silence is the characteristic of the country, and just like we remain silent about power outages, we remain silent about women's issues.

Sara, whose tears turned to stone

I know a girl named Sara. She sits before me and tells me how she was raped calmly and without much resistance. It happened before she even realized what it was and what was happening. She recounts how she was tense and kept clenching her teeth for a period of time, during which she wasn't able to feel. She didn't even blink and only felt coldness engulfing her body: something cold on her chest, cold saliva on her neck, salty water on her cheeks, and something she didn't know where it was coming from as if it were freezing her bones. And suddenly, she felt a warm rush that engulfed her entirely, and she finally managed to gasp in. He threw a box of white tissues at her and lit a cigarette, but before leaving the house, he clearly expressed what he wanted to happen next: "I'll come back and not find you, got it?"

I told my father that I wanted to become a journalist so that no one would be able to silence me. He turned pale and made a joke that terrified me and continues to do so to this day, "Looks like you want to humiliate us in police stations at this old age"

She went back home, looked at herself in the mirror, and spent a long time examining her blood and her discolored skin. Purple was her favorite color, but she didn't want to see it on her skin. She watched how the tear carved into her soul as it fell, and then her father interrupted her observations.

His face turned pale, and perhaps the gray hair began growing on his head at that moment. He calmly and quietly asked her:


- "What happened?"

- "Your nephew."


He breathed a sigh of relief, as he was reassured by the fact that the perpetrator was part of the family. This way, such a ridiculous incident, such as the rape of his daughter, will no cause him a major scandal that would label his daughter as a girl without honor. He acted indifferently and showed less care than she had expected, blaming her for opening the door to him, despite being a relative of the first degree, her first cousin. However, he came up with a satisfactory solution: he would marry her off to him if she became pregnant, and he would 'cut her tongue' if she told anyone about what happened if she wasn't pregnant. Angry, he left to vent his anger in some coffee shop.

Hours later, he came back home and found Sara exactly where he left her. They screamed at each other, he hit her, and she ran away.

She went back home, looked at herself in the mirror, and spent a long time examining her blood and her discolored skin. Purple was her favorite color, but she didn't like seeing it on her skin. She watched how her tear carved into her soul as it fell

Her story is not what 'broke my back'. What really got to me was Sara's eyes that tell the story of her torn body with the simplicity and casualness with which I talk about a beloved sweater that my mother turned into a cleaning rag. I tell myself, "It's a good thing that I didn't speak out" on one hand, but I envy her for being able to on the other, because despite everything, she was able to scream instead of swallowing her heart like I did.

Today, Sara defines herself as a survivor. She talks about harassment, rape, and women's rights, just as she talks about rising prices and the lack of educational resources in her country. All of these are urgent priorities that need to be discussed now and immediately. They are all issues that extend beyond the personal.

Sara concluded a lengthy discussion about women's rights in a neutral tone that indicates her full recovery. It's something I kept envying her for until I had to help her get through a panic attack while we were talking about the differences between raising cats and raising dogs while we laughed.

Most of the women in my country have hidden their stories in small coffins; coffins of wanting to ignore, wanting to forget, coffins of silence, or "cut tongues" without any witnesses. But fortunately there is space, for the country is a wide grave in itself


Not about feminism

We don't know how to create distinctive visual identities, and our brands don't compete in the big market. But we certainly excel at creating stereotypes and compete globally in promoting them. So it's important for me to tell you that this text is not a feminist text; it's about me, because after years of running away, I returned to my battle and found no arena to fight in. My opponent declared his victory, and I don't have an audience applauding me or patting me on the back. That's why I say to those who are like me, I will make sure to find someone who believes her if she speaks up, and I hope she will never be silent. As for me, I know I'm late, but I'm tired of being silent.

Most of the women in my country have hidden their stories in large or small coffins; coffins of wanting to ignore, wanting to forget, coffins of silence, or "cut tongues" without any witnesses or prayers. But fortunately, there seems to be enough space, for the country is a wide grave in and of itself.



* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Raseef22



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