It’s not “family” when people eat together at a table which is set up by girls who are humiliated and treated like maids.

Hello. I don’t know if I can support someone about some topics. We are six siblings – two boys, four girls. I’m 17 years old right now and I’m the 5th child of the house. I never wore shorts when I was little. I didn’t wear strapped dresses or blouses. I didn’t wear skirts or dresses, except for my school skirt and ankle-long skirts. I couldn’t. They never let me. My father and big brothers would go to work early and come home late. My whole life I had a mother who constantly said, “Don’t make your father or brother mad!” or “What will others say?”, who took out her anger on us when she got angry, who repeatedly said that she regretted giving birth to me, who constantly insulted me. When I started elementary school, I started thinking that I would be accepted and loved if I studied. I was the 1st of my class every year. I won many awards. All those successes were disregarded. Most of the time, they didn’t attend my award ceremonies and shows even though they had the time and opportunity to attend.

The same situation continued in middle school. When I was in 8th grade, they wanted me to go to a high school that was close to our home and required a very high score. If I hadn’t gotten that score in TEOG[1], I would be enrolled in open high school since high school is mandatory, I would be getting my education only on paper, and perhaps be married right now. They thought that I should get in the hijab as I started high school, and they mentioned this whenever possible. I spent all my summers since 3rd grade in Quran courses. The summer I took the high school exam, I didn’t want to go to a Quran course. Somehow, I managed to evade going. Whoever created me wasn’t trying to create gender equality. I felt that I didn’t belong to a religion and a family that pushed people to do things just because of their gender under the name of Islam.

As I started high school, they started pressuring me on hijab. I told them that it would be impractical – for example, it would be a problem even in physical education classes. Again, I managed to evade it and didn’t wear a hijab. My mother started to meddle with everything I wore. I enrolled in the high school they wanted. My life was all about going back and forth between school and home. Tight trousers, tights, half-sleeved t-shirts were forbidden. I would be stigmatized as a prostitute even when I wanted to do some light make-up. In time, I started wearing black jeans, saying that I had to wear them because of school rules. Long shirts and tunics, that I thought unsuitable for my age, were bought so that I could wear them on the jeans. I didn’t want to veil for “protection from the glazes of men whose mentality is distorted”. For this, my two big brothers, mother, and father repeatedly resorted to verbal and physical violence. My mother didn’t want me to have a male friend, even only for friendship. I didn’t listen to her, and now most of my friends are male. I don’t want to choose my friends based on their gender. My mother didn’t even want me to have photos with my male friends on my phone. I shouldn’t have had social media; I should have never shared photos.

They became more normal in time. They got better as I resisted. If I had done as my bigger sisters and shut up, I would get married with their written consent at the age of 17 and give birth to a child at the age of 18. Now I can wear the trousers, half-sleeved t-shirts that I want. I can wear jewelry and do some light make-up. My family’s puritan views continue. They classify societal roles and statuses on the basis of gender. I was beaten a lot for the trousers I wore. They don’t know I have a social media account. They don’t know my previous social media accounts, many of my friends, and the things I do. Maybe it shouldn’t be like this, I shouldn’t hide things. But I feel like in prison when I live the way they want. I don’t want them to direct my life. I don’t want to live being dependent on them.

I will take the university exam next year. Whatever results I get; I will write the farthest places in my college choice list. I wait eagerly for the day I will be 18 and have my economic freedom. One doesn’t become a mother by giving a bowl of food, a father by giving some allowance. It’s not “family” when people eat together at a table which is set up by girls who are humiliated and treated like maids. I hope that my dreams won’t be just dreams and I will get out of here.


[1] TEOG stands for “Temel Eğitimden Ortaöğretime Geçiş”, which means “Transition from Basic Education to Secondary Education”. It is the high school placement exam that students take at the end of 8th grade.

[1] TEOG stands for “Temel Eğitimden Ortaöğretime Geçiş”, which means “Transition from Basic Education to Secondary Education”. It is the high school placement exam that students take at the end of 8th grade.

Translator: Leto

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.