Let’s Find a Midwife

2019

I was a little older at the time.
I was in the seventh grade when mama took me to a gynecologist.
The doctor said, verbatim, “she doesn’t need to be circumcised.”
I understood what they were talking about,
What they wanted to do to me.
“The doctor said I don’t need it,” I told them.
“We know better than the doctor,” my aunt retorted

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An Eight-Act Crime

2018

These are the eight scenes I remember from the crime that has left me scarred, psychologically and physically, since the age of ten.
The “cosmetic procedure” my mother made me undergo has made me hate this part of my body.
fgm, gender violence, social pressure

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That Demon Is My Husband

2018

When I was little, I often dreamt of a demon.
I’d bang on our front door as the demon came down the stairs.
I’d scream and my voice would catch in my throat.
My hands would grow heavier as I pounded on the door.
When I got married, I started to suspect that demon was my husband.
domestic violence, gender violence, physical violence, social stigma, work, addiction

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I Didn't React

2013

Before it happened,
I raised my voice and fought with you,
So you wouldn’t get into the elevator with me.
I went in alone,
And you pushed the door and came in,
And reached out and touched me.

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Abaya and Veil

2017

I usually wear an abaya and a veil when I go to work.
I went in, changed, and went out.
“Come, dear. Prepare breakfast for us,” he told me.
I went out to get breakfast.
Later on he said,
“Why are you covering your hair? Take off the veil, dear.”
“I’m from the countryside. I can’t take off the veil,” I replied.
gender violence, sexual violence, work, harassment, social pressure

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Male Species

2017

“Don’t react to anything you hear.
Just keep walking.”
“Don’t talk back, no matter what.
Walk away.”
“No one knows what he could do to you.”
That’s what we’re told.
We’re told to obey.
If someone insults me,
I should just walk away.
That way he’ll keep doing what he does.

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Honey

2016

I was eight years old.
I was playing in the streets,
Where a sixty year old man used to sell honey.
He would get us honey every month.
That time there was no one at home.

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We’ll Force the Veil on You

2015

“We’ll force you to wear the veil.”
We heard that line a lot from Salafis.
We heard it from bus drivers and people who sat next to us on buses and metros.
We heard it constantly.

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They Deserve It

2014

We were listening to music on the beach,
When three guys came and sat in front of us.
We got up and went for a walk,
But they came after us.
I kept yelling at them,
But they kept following us.

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I’m Not Your Darling

2010

When I first started work, I used to talk to the clients in a very professional manner, saying "sir" and "mister", and I would find them replying with things like, "Sure, beautiful," and "Yes, love."

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