I told myself, “You are not the strong woman you want to be.”

Hello. I don’t know how I should begin. First, I want to state that, you have been a light of hope to me. I was speechless most of the time I read the stories. There were many stories like mine, but I wanted to write my own.

I’m the second girl of a family with four kids. As you can see, I was raised in an extremely conservative family. My father is a person who believes in religion but doesn’t perform religious duties but if you ask him, he is extremely Muslim. I also have a big brother; he studies theology. I know him since I was incredibly young though, the things he made me go through wouldn’t change if he wasn’t studying theology.

I was put in hijab at the end of 8th grade by my family who nagged me by saying “You will wear a hijab, look at our family, everyone is in hijab.” At first, I liked colorful headscarves, but I started questioning religion because I have always been a questioning person since I was little. As I questioned, I drifted away from hijab, but I always suppressed my thoughts. My family would kill me if they heard my thoughts, my father would cut me in half. I wore a hijab without a bonnet; I was ostracized simply because of this.

Last year, on my 18th, I told myself “You don’t really want to wear hijab.” I told my mother this situation, she was astonished. She said, “Close this subject right now, don’t even come to my funeral if you take it off.” Of course, my mother is my only treasure in this world, how could I crush her.

This year, I started going to a private teaching institution for the college enterance exam. I started reading books, I read a lot. I questioned everyone and everything. I told myself, “You are not the strong woman you want to be.” I was in depression most of the time, I cried a lot. I opened it up to my mother again. This time she told everyone except my father. My big brother told me that I wouldn’t be any different from a prostitute if I took my hijab off; he yelled at me, insults… I asked my father, “A friend of mine wants to take her hijab off and is in a bad situation, how should I support her?” He said, “If you support her, you will go to hell too; if you take your hijab off, I will beat you regularly.” I suppressed myself again, but I couldn’t take it anymore: waking up every morning and putting on a hijab.People at the teaching institution noticed my situation and talked behind my back constantly. For instance, “How is this girl veiled, she should just take it off and be freed…” So, I decided I would take it off at the teaching institution, I would wear it back on as I came home. I did so. But I can’t even tell you the fear inside me. What if someone sees or my father hears…

I don’t want to live like this anymore. Let’s say that I get into college, I’m not allowed to go out of the city. They say, “Never. You can’t do this unless you go over our dead bodies.” What should I do now? How can I earn my freedom? How can I be the strong woman of my dreams? Show me a way, give me a remedy please. For instance, a part-time job or a roommate. I will earn money and study; I only want support from you. If someone sees my story and my hears cries, they should put themself in my shoes, I’m at a dead-end. However, I still have hope in me. I hope that my hopes won’t die.

Translator: Leto

(Image: Anish Kapoor)

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