When I grew up, I was very clear about demanding my rights. The first time I raised my voice I got a slap on the face by my brother. My father wouldn’t allow me to say no, and I lived like a dog obeying its owners, except that a dog is able to bark when it gets mad.
When my father gave my brother the title of Man of the House, he stripped all of my rights from me. I wished to touch my dolls only once, but I was no longer allowed. All of my dreams were locked up in a cellar inside of my heart, and the sensation I felt was that I had no permission to have them. Like I said, the first time I objected to my brother, my father slapped me. He told me, “Pay respect to your brother, girl.”
Is the word “girl” offensive to them?
I am a girl by definition, but I didn’t know that I was doing something wrong when I grew up and puberty began. Oh god, what shame was it, the words my father said to me as I grew up. He ordered me to wear very loose clothes, even in the house, so my body wouldn’t be seen. I wasn’t allowed to watch television, even cartoon channels, because stories like Snow White and Cinderella would accustom my mind to fantasies and play with my head.
I was such a source of shame for my father that he went looking for the man most appropriate to be my husband. He found for a 40 year old man to marry me, a 15-year-old girl. Leaving my father’s house I was relieved. Thank God I left his prison. Thank God I was removed from the constant guilt and shame of being such a burden. It felt like I was bringing him shame every single day, but now I was in a new kind of chamber.
I was normally locked in my new room and unable to watch television. When I would enter my new “husband’s” room he wouldn’t even look at me. I began to look at all the new and forbidden things around me, and I began to smile. Those things would smile back at me. I had acquired a Barbie, I would look out the window, I would secretly watch television. I would feel happiness in my heart because of the victory I felt in my small rebellions.
According to my father’s customs, you first get married, then have sex, and then start to know each other. When my new husband took my virginity (although I am still a virgin at heart), he asked me, “How old are you?”