Disclaimer*: The articles shared under 'Your Voice' section are sent to us by contributors and we neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of any facts stated below. Parhlo will not be liable for any false, inaccurate, inappropriate or incomplete information presented on the website. Read our disclaimer.
This article was originally submitted by Zainab Bawa
I walk out every day with fear in my heart and Ayat ul Kursi on my lips. I wear clothes that are loose and don’t grab unwanted attention, I cover my face and hide my identity as I walk; through the streets of my own country where I was born raised, and made into a criminal. I ask myself every day, “What is my fault?”, no answers. Maybe I don’t know yet.
I walk through the most crowded streets, making sure I don’t speed up or slow down and give a chance for them to stare; just the most balanced pace, learned it through the years I would say.
I walk with my head down securing my haya and dignity; which is my only possession, pretty fragile I’d say but not everyone has it, that’s what my mother said. “Farzana, the one who lives down the street lost it when she decided to divorce her drug addict husband and moved to the city – besharam.”
I kept walking along the graffitied wall which said, “Mardana Kamzori ka Ilaaj”, I repeated it to myself, once, twice, and then thrice.
If there is a cure to this then surely there would be a cure; for mentality, brutality, and lust that makes us criminals and locks us behind our bodies. Surely, there should be.
I cross the street when I suddenly freeze in my place as my mind pushes back the thoughts; I was entangled in before. I see before my eyes what I prayed would not happen today – the bus stop was full today. With men. Not a single woman. No, the mere thought of standing along with a group of men sent shivers; down my back, but I can’t go back or I will be late to work today as well.
My employer would probably fire me and my kids would have to sleep hungry again – a series of flashbacks start to appear, one of which was when my husband threw acid on me; for the daughter I bore, my back still burns. My heart aches but I remember the criminal I am and stand in silence; as far as I can from the stop, praying that some female would appear; magically, to stand along with me and assure me of the safety of my body; that not even my husband could provide me with.
The men look towards me as I look towards the ground, I don’t understand why they do so.
They laugh and whistle, I ignore as I know I am a foreigner; as lifeless as the bus I awaited, my respect is in the hands of anyone but me. My life is based on fake consolations I provide myself with.
The voices around me grow louder and clearer but I’m not besharam, I never disrespected my husband; who almost killed me. I did not run away as Farzana did, I am not looking these men in the eyes and punching them in the face; as much as I want to.
TO HELL WITH SOCIETY AND HAYA.
I punch him right in the face, I did it. The world goes silent as it does; at the end of every story, but that time it was the start to a new one; which I write for myself.