True Story: A Private Rebellion, Part 1

The following true story was sent to us by an activist in Jordan who recorded this first-hand account from a Kuwaiti woman. It was translated from Arabic into English.




Part 1:
The First Deprivation


My mother used to tell me, “You’ll grow up and you’ll forget.” I’ll never be old enough to forget.


When my big brother used to nag me I would cry, and I would run to my father. My father applauded my brother and always said, “My son is a man.” He used to look at me and say, “This is your big brother. He is the man of the house and you should give him respect.” When I grew up my brother kept me from attending school because he didn’t think I needed an education. He thought that eventually a man would marry me and support me, so I would never need a degree. Since my brother is a man, I needed to obey his orders. I would put my head down and say, “Whatever you want.”


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After it became frightening to run to my father, I just kept quiet. I put all of my dreams in a basement full of dust and bugs. My room became a prison for me, only suitable for sleeping. I was forbidden from going out with my friends so that I would not become sinners, like them. Later it was considered dangerous to leave me sitting in my room because I might get adulteress ideas in my head, and in this moment I understood deprivation.  When my prison was the only place I could escape from the reality of my brother and father, I understood deprivation. My dream was just to play with a Barbie – I liked to make her look beautiful and dance – but my father and brother forebode it because they thought it would fill my head with God-less thoughts and make me grow up too quickly.


When I laugh, when I cry, when I smile… It’s all about things that are forbidden. It’s as if “forbidden” was a term made only for women. I wanted to have the body of a man for one day, to see what life looks like. I dream to be like Cinderella, to have only one hour so I can feel that I am still alive and breathing.