I had learned that it was my fault if a man harassed me when I was not headscarved.

I can’t quite guess how or where to start my story. It branches and snags as I think, I think it’s best to start with introducing myself.

I am a 20-year-old university student who grew up in a rural village with a crowded radical Islamist family. I grew up with a family with many brothers, cousins, uncles and aunts, and a strong and crowded. All these people were always following me with every decision I made. There are many women in my family, and even one of these women is not wearing a hijab, which is one of the most challenging things in this process. 

Although I need a lot, there is no one I can present as an example.

I was veiled at the age of 11; I am the first to be veiled among my peers in my family. This is not because I want to wear the headscarf voluntarily, but also the neighborhood-village pressure, as well as the family pressure, applied to all of us. Although I was forcibly veiled, I was happy with my condition because I was terrified of men in those years and learned that it was my fault if a man harassed me when I was not veiled. 

Unfortunately, even though I was veiled later, I learned painfully that this was considered my fault at a young age.

I have never liked to be wearing a headscarf at any time in my life. Still, I did not try to take it off for a long time because I was madly afraid of burning in hell or my family burning in hell because of my’ hypocrisy.’

Afterward, my views on Islam and the extent of the value I gave it have changed drastically. At the age of 16, I decided without fear that I wanted to make it for the first time, it was a long and painful process for me, but it was a great peace to make a decision afterward. I opened this decision to my friends and then to my family the year I entered the university. When I talk this with my family, they were shocked. Still, it was not about my decision to take off the headscarf because everyone understood that my connection to religion was somehow inadequate because of my attitude regarding worshipping. What surprised them was that I spoke out all this.

I can’t say what I felt that day, and I can only say this; it was the worst day of my life. My father, who I believe will be the only supporter in my family, talked about what people can say, to bring our honor. Besides all these, he said, “Take off the headscarf it if you want, but think about what will happen to you.” The moment my mother heard it met with great sorrow, nervousness, and fear, because the more it affects me, the more it will affect her. If I were the girl who took off the headscarf, she would be guilty of all this because she was a woman who couldn’t teach me Islamic values ​​properly.

Everyone knows that I don’t want to wear a headscarf anymore, but I can’t take it off. This life is my life, I will live this life, but the decisions I make, unfortunately, affect other people’s lives. For now, what I have experienced is not very heartwarming, I am telling my story to everyone I met because I don’t want an individual of LGBTI +, people with no religious belief, to be afraid of me. Still, I am embarrassed to share my story with everyone.

I am afraid of everything because I do not enter any environment like myself. I am not self-confident and depressed. I feel very alone, and I can’t find a way out; maybe I dare not find it. I embrace all women who dare with all my sincerity.

(Image: Marinka Masséus)

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