I will get rid of this burden I have been carrying for all those years.

Hi there. I’m just like you; a young girl fighting for her freedom. What I am about to tell you is nothing short to your experiences. We are going through exactly the same thing. It’s been a year since I came across this platform. I feel lucky as it helped me to learn about the presence of others, who’ve been faced with the same predicament. I should however add that it’s also deeply saddening to learn about the abundance of such cases. My story goes back to four years ago, back when I was 14 and during summer break just before the high school… My father used to prompt, suavely yet persistently as if engraving things on my brain, God’s commandment for me to put on the veil. His persistence became even more aggravating when I started high school. The moment he said “you shall put on the veil!”, I fully realized his determination and that there was no way out. I remember my uncle and his wife dining with us one evening. The table was set and dinner served. It was at that moment that I overheard, from the kitchen, my father and uncle talking about me. “Brother! It’s time for your daughter to veil up, she must put it on”, said my uncle and my father, immediately, called me in. I pretended that I hadn’t heard anything, to no avail… I do still recall the chill running down my back when I hear my father say: “Your uncle wants you to be veiled, go and put it on.. Now!” I spent the rest of the evening dining with them, veiled and steamed up whilst gazing at my uncle. My uncle is, easily, the most conservative of my father’s siblings. He had sent his sons to courses to be trained as hafiz (someone who knows Quran by heart), his wife always had a burqa, and he has always been very restrictive. Well… you might say that I was lucky not to have him as my father, but it was not just enough. He kept envenoming my father, he kept telling him to restrict me by way of veiling, taking away my phone or not letting me go out. I did eventually put the veil on in order not to be further oppressed and particularly to make my uncle stop talking, even if just a tad. The moment I put the veil on, I became the most favorite family member by far. Gifts kept coming in; silk scarves, a new mobile phone, beautiful dresses and much more. My first ever day at high school made me realize how wrongful my decision was, it was too late though. There was neither a way back nor a remedy at the time. I had to live my life the way my family wanted, without dishonoring them. That’s what they wanted and my preferences /decisions were insignificant. I put the veil on each day while shedding tears. I was in a new social environment and I was meeting new individuals, people with different identities. I didn’t want to end up being remembered like that. I was desperate. I tried to hang in there for 4 years, I tried to live with this burden. I endured but I became depressed, and I received psychological counseling and medication. I was sick almost all the time, I didn’t take care of myself because I had no self-confidence left. I didn’t love myself. It was during the final year of high school that I did eventually comprehend how I was no longer myself, how the one standing and breathing had nothing to do with me and the extent of my depersonalization. I had to act, I had to do something. I spoke first with my mother, and she was surprisingly accepting. She was however afraid of, and on pins and needles regarding my father’s reaction. My father has always been ill-humored, unpermissive. He rarely talks with us, asks after us. He cares about our education, even more than he cares about us. He’s also prone to violence and that’s the only thing that scares me. He became slightly milder over the years, but he does loose it when he gets angry. That’s why I can’t talk to him, let alone think about talking to him. Still, for some reason, I’ve lately been feeling a lot braver and I am determined to face him. Regardless of the end result, no matter what happens, I shall unburden myself. All I need is time, to reflect and people to support me.

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