Samira

2008

Unlike most girls, I never had any expectations or dreams about my wedding night. Nor did I exert any effort to think of what would happen once I was alone with my husband—whom I hardly knew—for the first time.

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I’m Fighting Alone

2018

I get bullied and insulted.
It happened that once the religion teacher performed on me the Islamic practice of healing in front of my classmates.
They had planned to do it because they saw that my being different was something abnormal.
I couldn’t do anything.
When I tried to speak up, they just said that it was a joke.
social stigma, depression, school, bullying

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Wearing the Headscarf

2019

I was always very independent,
Ever since I was young.
I never did anything unless I believed in it.
I decided to start wearing the headscarf.
I did so out of conviction.
No one interfered in my decision.
social stigma, hijab, discrimination

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No One Tried to Help

2017

I was sexually assaulted in public, and no one tried to help me.
It happened at night. They tied me up and started physically assaulting me.
Then, in turn, they started groping and molesting me.
When a passerby tried to intervene, they threatened to hit me again and to continue molesting me elsewhere.
gender violence, sexual violence, rape, social stigma, social pressure, the street

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I Remember

2014

I was walking past an qahwa (local cafe).
I could see them trying to form a circle around me.
No one from the qahwa did anything to stop them.
I don’t know where that scream came from, but it made them leave.

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I Was Never Invited Back

2019

I remember being 12 or so.
I had been invited over to a friend's house for dinner.
The table was laid and dinner was served.
I started eating and that's when things got tense.
My friend's mother asked me not to eat with my left hand.
social stigma, social pressure

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A Dress for Eid

2017

I had a recurring dream when I was young,
That my mother wasn’t actually my mother,
And that my father was married to another woman,
Who looked exactly like my mother.
I don’t know why I kept having this dream.
Maybe because my mother was very hard on me,
And my father was kind.
Everyone used to say that he spoiled me.
But I didn’t see it that way.
He used to shout all the time,
And my mother used to hit me,
So I’d grow up to be a proper housewife.

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I Took It Off

2010

I wore the hijab even though I wasn’t really convinced I should.
I was trying to please God, since it’s an obligation for Muslim women.
It was also a way of meeting society’s standards of being modest.

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Passing Judgment

2012

What’s he thinking of?
Does she have the right to say no?
Is it my right to pass judgement on her?
Is it her fault that she’s giving in to society’s standards?

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Reactions to My Veil

2009

I hate people’s reactions at work when they meet me for the first time.
“You’re very brave to be veiled.”
“Veiled girls should get married and stay at home.”
And “Veiled girls aren’t competent workers.”

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