While I was wearing a hijab, I realized that it did not prevent harassment or social segregation.

Hello. Whoever you are, I want to tell you about myself today because I have many things that are not disclosed. If you feel close to me, I will be happy to have a heart-to-heart talk with you, so please mention it in the comments.

My family has not been a follower of Sharia or Radical Islam; my mother has been a religious woman in her way. Since my childhood, my father has been a nervous man who intervened in my clothes, mostly for cultural reasons. He inflicted psychological violence on me, my brothers, and my mother many times throughout my childhood. Although there was no apparent violence to my mother, he exerted intensive violence against my siblings. Still, since I was very a young girl, I was subjected to relatively less violence and pressure. Even if I was fortunate on violence, my father’s pressure on my clothes started when I was in kindergarten. Though he did not overdo it to force hijab at that age, he did not allow me to wear trousers during my childhood, the t-shirts I wore had a certain limit, and it was compulsory to wear skirts. When my skirt was a little above my knees or even on my knees, it was making my father angry. I was so afraid of my father with all the unpleasant things happening in my family; I had worn them with tears in my eyes. Even when I was a child, I knew that I would be wearing hijab in the future, but I couldn’t imagine myself like that. I have always been a child jealous of her friends. 

I started secondary school in an Imam Hatip secondary school. In the first few months of the 5th grade, I kept up with the environment. I began to go to school eagerly by using a headscarf to cover my head. I was not completely in hijab, and my family did not force it. When I started in the 6th grade, my enthusiasm for veiling continued, but my father advised me to go into a full hijab. Even though there was no open place in my body except my head and neck, I was disturbing him. Although I was enthusiastic about using the headscarf, I still remember how sorry I had felt because of his words. I started the 7th class in complete hijab. In the 8th grade, Although I envied my friends who were not in the hijab for their clothes, it was a logical explanation for me that the hijab was given to protect us. I have been doing my five-time prayers voluntarily since I was menstruating; therefore, I wasn’t even thinking about going out of this religious profile. However, as I started to learn my religion better and question more, I found myself in a huge unknown that I couldn’t solve.

These question marks got stronger when I went to high school and started an Anatolian high school. While I was wearing a hijab, I realized that it did not prevent harassment or social segregation. It is even possible to understand the woman’s religious order by looking at how she covers her head. When I ask why they are closed to the people in hijab, their answers cannot go beyond that ‘it is Allah’s order.’ Even though I have always listening and reading ideas, I have not understood the logic behind the hijab. It does not sound convincing to say that it came from nature. We could do what comes from our hearts without obligation. I do not understand why it is obligatory. If hijab is mandatory for us because we are so precious, why men are considered less worthless? There are many societies where men are harassed more. Matriarchal societies exist too, but why does Islam not want to protect men from harassment despite being universal? As I said before, the hijab does not prevent harassment. Although I have read the relevant verses, I still cannot understand them.

I am going to the 10th grade right now, and I want to state that I do not believe the “Hijab is freedom” people in all this time. It makes me irritated to see someone who labels women’s clothes even though he is a man and hasn’t covered her head once and hasn’t even fulfilled his religious responsibilities. This year I applied to the psychologist in the school’s counseling service as I have no tolerance for the problems at home. I continued for several sessions, and she told me that I had trauma, based on what I told her. I think I have other problems too, mostly related to my father. My father has severe nervous disorders. Later on, I persuaded my mother to go to a psychologist as well.

After the pandemic, I will tell the psychologist that I want to go out of the hijab. When I said it to the psychologist from my school’s counseling service, she explained that people had differences in religious matters even in their sexual orientation and did not want to be included in a pattern due to the family’s authority. She probably thought I wanted to open up because of the pressure, but this has been turning on me for two years. I hate the scarf on my head. I always feel like I have a shame to hide. When I try to explain this to my mother, “Are you willing to go to Hell?” she replied, and my father is even a bigger problem than her. But no matter what or when I will do it. I have no more tolerance left, and I want to do it soon. All I want from my family is to accept me as I am, even if they disapprove of it. I blame myself for even the smallest thing because of them. I do not believe that my father has any love for me or any family member anymore. I used to have hope, but he will neither accept nor love me. I know that now.

Thank you very much if you read so far. Whether you wear hijab or not, male or LGBTI +, whoever and whatever you are, please love yourself. Even if people cannot handle diversity and richness, each of us is very special. Do not judge yourself by the thoughts of people who do not love you or criticize you. And please don’t forget to share with me whatever you feel or think. I need you too. Stay with love.

  1.  Imam Hatip schools are educational institutes in Turkey where people are trained for religious professions such as imams.

(Image: Selma Gürbüz)

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