Story Sixty Five: Nesrine from Tunisia

 

I have always been with the uprising of women in the Arab world. Here is my story:
I am a law student and I got a scholarship for a two week trip to Europe as a reward to my good grades. I was very proud of myself but, unfortunately, i can’t say the same about my mother. She said that i needed to take my brother’s permission first, who is only a few months older than me. When he said that i could go, it still was not enough for her. We argued and she finally said that she doesn’t want me to travel by myself, that i will have the chance to travel with my husband when i get married one day!
I was shocked and enraged. Especially coming from my mother, who is an educated woman and who lived as a single mother after my father’s death so she should know that a woman can be responsible for herself.
But no. If i were a boy, my mother would be so proud and happy with me. But as a girl, i can only function as a sister, a daughter or a wife.
I thought about going anyway. After all, i am an adult and nothing can stop me from doing whatever i want. But, i can’t do that. Not because i am incapable but because my mother would be devastated and i love her too much to hurt her that way. Life is not fair to me because i am a woman. But i vowed to myself that if i have a daughter, i will believe in her. I will make her an emancipated woman and i will fight the world so she can be whatever she wants.

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Comments (10)

  • Alisa

    I think you should go. Not only is your mother wrong, but as long as women do NOT stand up for themselves, nothing will change. If you wait until you have a daughter to try and change things it might be to late. Perhaps you will find yourself in the same position as your mother is, afraid to support your daughter’s independence. NEVER let another dictate your life for you. People use “love” as a way to control. Your mother is using your love for her as a means of control. If she truly loves you, she will either not be devastated or will get over it if you do go. Have courage and live your life fully.

    Reply
    • Sharine Atif

      I was considering you for a movie, but unfortunately, the ending of your story did not match with what we are looking for an empowering/ women taking action story!!

      I agree 100% with Alisa… I hope one day you find the strength to stand up for what you want

      Peace

      Sharine

      Reply
  • Musab Al-Ahdab

    Dear Nesrine,

    am truly sorry for what happened to you, and I’ve heard a lot of similar stories and many of them went into bad endings, i agree with you that the life isn’t fair, but sometimes we need to do some sacrifices to satisfy the people we love … finally let me salute you when you promised yourself to raise your daughter in different way where you can give her the trust she needs to have a good and fair life .. good luck :)

    Reply
  • Williewoose

    It’s good your brother said “yes”, it’s good you love your mother, it’s good that you can argue with her. It would be bad that you don’t get the reward that you have earned and that someone has been kind enough to offer. I would say it is your duty to accept it and go to improve your experience and knowledge for all Arab women. It is afterall only two weeks not two years. My experience is that these chances only come once and you will have a lifetime to regret not going. Look to your brother for support, he sounds a decent enlightened fellow. Unfortunately your mother is also your father and she is probably trying to do what she thinks is right by him. Put her on, let her see what people say, I am happy to talk to her, she may need some other reassurance, do you have other relatives/friends that might persuade her? Go for it girl – leave no stone unturned!

    Reply
  • Rania Hammoud, Life Coach

    I think you should go to. for sure, there is a way to convince your mom, if you love her and dont wanna upset her. try talking to someone who can convince your mom.

    if you end up going, and when you will have a daughter of your own, you will be a raw model for her, she will be proud that her mom walked the talk, and did what she believed in and fought for it… this is how you will raise the daughter and woman you want :)

    after all, in 10 years from you, it wont be your mother who stood up between you and what you wanted to do, it would be you :)

    all the best,
    Rania

    Reply
  • Rania Hammoud, Life Coach

    I think you should go too. for sure, there is a way to convince your mom, even if you love her and dont wanna upset her. Try talking to someone who can convince your mom.

    if you end up going, and when you will have a daughter of your own, you will be a raw model for her, she will be proud that her mom walked the talk, she did what she believed in and fought for it… this is how you will raise the daughter and woman you want :) and your mom will find out that she was wrong and will be happy and proud of you! your brother will too!

    after all, in 10 years from now, it wont be your mother who stood up between you and what you wanted to do, it would be you ;)

    all the best,
    Rania

    Reply
  • NatalieHughes

    Being educated has nothing to do with this!
    travelling alone is dangerous, ESPECIALLY FOR A WOMAN! your mom is looking out for you! do you really think your mom wants harm done to you?no!!!
    and Islamically speaking this is prohbiited
    and you ignorant non muslims should stop forcing your ways of life on others! travelling alone doesnt make you independent!

    Reply
    • Mariam

      I do not think they are forcing their ways of life on her. You can look at the situation from both perspectives. The mother may think her decision to keep her daughter from going on this trip is for her own good and only to protect her, but she is also holding her back from her education and a great experience which is not okay. I think she should go.

      Reply
  • Tamara Rafeh

    Hey!

    I was in the same situation but my offer was to continue a year is Europe! I applied without my mother knowing! And she was more open minded and proud when i got accepted… but i had a strong support from my siblings! And after i went and she saw my behavior in a European country… she gained trust in me! I went without her approval! Now she is so supportive! And she likes it because she gets to travel to see me too!
    Our parents are not monsters! They care and love us! They just think we are weak wtihout a man, and our job is to prove the difference! I prefer being cared for than thrown out at 18!
    Good luck!

    Reply
  • Karo

    I also suggest you go. When I was 18 I went from Europe to Canada for a year to volunteer even though my father was against it.
    It was the best decision I could make.
    Get out and see the world and expand your understanding of the world. Be the change you want to see in the world.
    Your mother might understand it later or she won’t. We cannot make others responsible for what we do with our lives. Depend on your own will.

    All the best,
    Karo

    Reply

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