When I was 6,
My mother took me out.
She told me that we were going to visit someone,
But she didn't take me back home with her.
She left me there.
I worked as a nanny
I took care of a one year old baby named Amy.
I worked there for 9 years.
My mother visited regularly the first 5 years.
But then my mother stopped coming.
I had no contact with her until I turned 14.
I was not given any allowance or salary.
The woman of the house would feed me and get me clothes.
But if I touched anything without her permission,
She would punish me by burning my hand.
One time she burned my hand because I took an egg from the fridge.
Her brothers would beat me with their belts.
I was either beaten, burned, or locked up in the bathroom.
I had a lot of horrible days.
When I was 14,
I ran away and went looking for my family.
I went to a woman who also worked as a maid.
I didn't have any money,
So I gave her my earrings and stayed with her for a month.
She had a son.
He would wake me up every night and tell me:
“Let’s roleplay bride and groom.”
I’d then wake his mother up,
And tell her to do something about it.
You see, when I turned 13,
the woman I had worked for told me
“You’re now a woman,”
“You mustn't go around talking with boys or allowing them to hold your hand,
Otherwise you’ll get pregnant!”
That was the only good thing she did.
Anyway, when I kept waking his mother up every night,
She told me, “I’m taking you home.”
She took me to the countryside looking for my family.
We asked around until we found my mother.
It wasn't long before I regretted going back home
At my mother’s,
My older sister would give me horrible clothes.
When I refused to wear them,
She would slap me.
Of all the times I was beaten up,
This one hurt the most.
It made me stop trusting people.
With strangers, something like this was expected,
But this was my own sister.
Instead of being thankful that I was home safe,
Instead of them trying to make things up to me,
My sister slapped me in front of her husband.
But I wouldn't have it,
I stood up for myself.
In response, her husband, who is also my cousin, told her
“You shouldn't have taken her back without having her do a virginity test”
“You need to make sure that she is still pure”
“We have know idea where she went nor what she was doing.”
My mother made things worse.
She refused to let me wear certain things.
She wouldn't allow me to visit my uncle,
Nor my sister.
Why the hell not?
When I was 16, I got a new job
I felt independent. I’d go to work then go home.
I worked for a lot of good people.
I worked for a lot of actors.
Children got so attached to me,
If I left a home, the mother would call me,
“Come back, the boy won’t take any other nanny.
He is throwing the nanny’s clothes off of the balcony”
I felt like I was reliving my childhood with the kids I took care of.
I loved playing with them.
I got married when I was 19.
By the second week, I couldn’t take it.
I wanted a divorce so bad.
After I got married,
I would spend a week at work,
And only go back home Thursdays and Fridays.
Our landlady would ask me,
“Why are your nightgowns out to dry when you’re never home.”
It turns out he was bringing women home when I wasn't there.
One time I found a bracelet that belonged to one of them.
We fought, and he beat me,
And I slit my wrist.
I asked him for a divorce but he refused.
I got angry about 4 or 5 times and kicked him out of the house.
But my family would talk him into coming back.
One time, I told my father, “He is inappropriate. He wants to have anal sex with me.”
My father slapped me “You whore. How dare you talk about such things?”
If I can’t talk to my mother or father, who am I supposed to talk to then?
Sometimes my husband would ask me for money to fix his car.
I’d have to borrow money from my employer to lend it to him.
She would get me to sign an IOU.
I would borrow 1500LE, then 500LE, and it went on.
He’d say he lost his wallet.
Or that the care tires needed to be fixed.
It turns out that he’d use the money to buy himself a phone and enjoy himself.
He was spending the money on a phone instead of feeding the kids.
He had no sense of responsibility.
He’d sometimes insist that I drink tea before I left for work.
I found it strange that he’d make me have tea without having breakfast.
I later found out he put drugs in my tea.
I saw him doing it with my own eyes.
I would go clean a 3 storey villa in two hours.
Even though that wasn't technically my job,
I was primarily a nanny.
I’d clean the whole villa and the maid would just sit and watch me.
My employer would go to work and by the time she came back,
The whole villa would be clean.
She’d tell the maid, “You finished quickly.”
“I didn't do anything, it was all Nawal,” the maid would say.
6 months later my employer felt that something was not right.
When the maid quit, my employer told me,
“I’ll raise your salary, since you do all the housework anyway.”
One day, my husband didn't have any drugs to spike my drink with.
I went to work and fainted.
They took me to a hospital.
I took a blood test.
The doctors told me that they found a lot of drugs in my system.
I was so scared.
They said that I need to go to rehab.