Cellophane

2016

I always thought that a girl who was a virgin
Would look different from a girl who wasn’t.
For a long time, I wondered what the difference might be.

FULL STORY

The First touch

2017

It was an ordinary day in the life of a 16-year-old girl in high school, going out with friends for lunch and a movie. My phone rang; it was Hassan, my cousin.

FULL STORY

The Pearl Box

2016

When I was little
My mother told me that a girl’s private parts are called a box of pearls
When I got older and we learned about reproduction
I asked my mother
and she told me the same thing that our teacher Mr. Mahmoud told me

FULL STORY

The Bridal Cloth

2016

But listen to me here: let him be in control.
There’s no yes or no.
Here, women don’t talk about these things.
You must only do as he says.

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Did You Sleep Together?

2016

Everyone felt bad for her when they broke up.
“We’ll take you to a doctor for a virginity test. We need to know if he left you because you slept together,” her father said.

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There’s No Such Thing as a “Man’s Honor”

2017

Growing up, I was taught that girls were responsible for preserving their honor.
I, as a man, have nothing to do with it.
My mother never brought up the word “honor” around me or my brother.

FULL STORY

Red Lines

2013

I invented something called “The red lines”,
And I imagined them drawn on my body.
So that I could mark the boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed.

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The Hymen

2014

In my family, it’s neither accepted nor allowed for a girl to not be a virgin before marriage.
I don’t know how intercourse works, and I’m afraid of it.
I feel that the hymen itself is shackling and imprisoning me.

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My Neighbor

2016

I learned one day that my neighbor whom I used to play with was getting married.
She was almost 16 years old.
“I’ve got something that my husband will take from me and throw away tomorrow morning,” she said.

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Blanket

2012

I’m not a woman, right?
I’m no longer a woman, am I?
How can I be a woman,
If I don’t get my period every month?
A little thing was gone,
And with it a lot of blood was lost.
My secrets were gone with it.
Where will I keep my secrets now?

FULL STORY
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Warning The stories on our story archive could contain potentially sensitive and/or triggering material. If a story causes you discomfort or pain, please remember to breathe and check in with yourself before continuing or stop reading completely if necessary.