Had I not been married; I wouldn’t have been going to college.

Hi, I am 28 years old and I took my headscarf off 2 years ago. My veiling story has begun after I had my child.

I got married, by my choice, when I was 18. Don’t be mad that I got married at an early age. Sometimes you need to make a choice. Had I not been married; I wouldn’t probably have been studying right now and my life would be much worse.

So, I got married, but I was not welcomed by my in-laws. They never accepted me to the family circle. My in-laws are very conservative, and they are members of a big cult. However, I was unveiled by that time and they thought I never deserved to be a part of their family. I was being humiliated all the time for that reason. All of the relatives are extremists and they would insult me in every chance they got. I didn’t mind their behavior and respected their belief, but they never respected me. One day I was labelled “naked” for just wearing a regular t shirt and a pair of jeans which was very insulting. It was their method of scorning me so that I would feel ashamed and change my clothing. I had been dealing with psychological abuse and the only reason they were doing it was to prove public that they could discipline me.

Then I had a daughter. After listening to horrible stories, facing discrimination and humiliation I decided to change and become a “normal” person as they would call it. I didn’t want to be the center of attention every time we gather so I covered my hair. But they didn’t stop there. They always ask for more. They asked me to do prayers every day and I did. They asked me to join the cult then I said no. They asked me to send my daughter there to get educated within the cult system I said no again. Then I was blamed to be a malicious person. Every time I looked at the mirror, I was not able to recognize myself; I was unhappy, and I lost my self-esteem. I was trying really hard to keep it together while being constantly scorned.

One day I decided not to silence my inner voice and I asked myself “Why are you veiled?” There was no answer. Then another question “Was I happy?” the answer was no. Why am I pushing it further then? I said to myself and then decided to take a step. I told my husband that I decided to unveil and of course his reaction was negative. He tried to change my decision by saying that he is worried about how his family would react and he was worried that that would disturb our family life etc. I had made my mind and I said no. Then he began threatening me and pointing at the door implying that he would kick me out. By the way my husband is not a religious person at all; he drinks, he smokes and even he was a playboy when he was single. I was not disheartened by his threats at all. I agreed that we could get a divorce. I was paving the way to my freedom and I had no intention of giving up. I prepared every document required to get a divorce. My husband got scared and realized that I was serious and then he said “Okay, I will support your decision”. In this process I stopped talking to my in-laws because their demands were endless. They even asked me to carry a baby for my sister in-law because she had not been able to do so. That was the last drop for me. I chased them away from house. They disowned me after hearing that I took off my headscarf, but I didn’t care at all. Now I am free, so happy and restored my self-esteem. I hope one day every woman who shares the same or likewise stories can be free and happy as well.

(Image: Jeanie Tomanek)

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