“Keep your head down, don’t look at anyone,” my father used to say while we were walking down the street.

Now I’ll pour my heart out to you. I’m 16 years old. My father is an extremely religious and oppressive person, you’ll understand that from what I’ll tell you. My father took me from school and sent me to an informal course, when I was 9 years old. At that time I didn’t know why I went that course or what to do in that course. I wore a headscarf at the age of 8. When my father and I was walking down the street he was saying that, “Keep your head down, don’t look at anyone,” and I was replying, “Okay.” If I said anything else, he would threaten to take me on a boarding course. I used to beg my mother every day, “Mom, please don’t do it, I’m still a little girl”, but she was saying, “be quiet, don’t let your father hear.” I said, “Okay.”, and stopped. 1 or 2 year have passed like this. I was slowly starting to notice some things. One day I told my mother the truth; I said, “Mom, I want to take off my headscarf, I don’t want to go to a course, I want to study at school, don’t do this to me.” It was the first time that my mother smacked me for the first time. Already then I started the boarding course.

I stayed in the boarding course for 2 years. I was 11 years old. I was coming to home once a month. The teachers in the course were between the ages 16 and 17. I was 13 years old and now I was saying everything that I want to say. My mother was telling me, “Wear your ferace (a black outfit that Muslim women wear to cover all of their body), walk hunch, bow your head.” I yelled at her for the first time when she said that to me. I wasn’t crying at nights anymore. My father found out that I’m a young girl back then and he was trying to force me to pray. I dig in his heels, he insulted me every day, and I was used to these insults. I had already taken off the ferace, I was wearing tunic and pants. One day I saw my father while sitting outside with my friends, I was afraid, very afraid of him, and this was the first time I experienced such a thing; I hid. If he had seen me, he would have insulted me in front of my friends and I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. My mother was not saying anything to me anymore. My father and I were like two strangers in the same house. Of course, I was not going to boarding course anymore. The last course I attended was a very old one and everything there must be black. They were firing those who didn’t come with black ferace, black headscarf, black socks and black shoes.

I have been a hafız (people who has completely memorized and can read Qur’an) and can talk loudly with them for 5 years. If I had gone to school, I would have entered LGS (high school entrance exam) these days. I’ve been crying since the morning, I hope I can get the life that I want in the future. I hope in the future I will see this letter I wrote and say, “I’m glad it’s done.” It was a very long letter, maybe nobody will read it, but I wanted to pour my heart out. I was so happy to see this website’s existence… Thank you!

Translator: Leto

(Image: The Handmaid’s Tale)

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