Story Eight: Maghaly from Lebanon

Once I was walking home, it was about 7 or 8 at night during summer time, and I just took the first alley that leads to my house, when I felt that someone was laughing right behind me. When I turned to look, 2 guys on a motorcycle jumped on me and started touching me in inappropriate places and I started to scream my lungs out! I cursed at them when suddenly and out of nowhere people started screaming and shouting : “take your hands off of her you filthy pigs !”

It was a miracle that there were people out on the balcony of one of the buildings. I was so afraid and shaking, I even hit one guy on the head so hard that he fell. Then before I knew it they hopped back on their motorcycle and fled the scene. It turned out they had turned off off their motorcycle s engine so I wouldn’t hear them behind me and they were rolling the motorcycle.

It was horrific and I started to think that if there was no one around I could have been raped. Since then I don’t feel secure at all, I feel scared walking alone or even taking a cab alone.

After 2 weeks of that horrible incident, I was walking again back home with my friend (a girl) and it was also about 7 pm summer time and it wasn’t even night fall yet. So as we were walking, I felt someone following us, its an instinct I picked up after what happened to me last time, and so I turned around to check it out, and there he was ! A guy with an undone zipper masturbating behind us on the street ! I couldn’t believe my eyes, I told my friend what I saw but also told her not to make any expressions or freak out. Instead, I turned to him and started yelling at him, so he started running in the opposite direction. when I saw a man from the army standing, I told him the story and I pointed my finger in the direction the filthy guy was heading to, but what he said was: ” you shouldn’t have been dressed like that”.

I was wearing a t-shirt and a jeans, I was so shocked from what he said so I told him :”tfou 3lek” and just continued my way back home.

Because of this horrific experience and many other experineces that me and other women have been through, I am with the uprising of women in the Arab world…


Story Sixteen: Rahma from Tunisia

I am a 22 years old woman and here is my story.

I was sexually molested at the age of 9 by a 30 years old man. He touched and kissed my thighs and ejaculated on top of them. At that time i did not understand what had happened. However, when i did understand at the age of twelve, I knew that I lost my innocence from that moment .

Till now i still feel rage and anger and I couldn’t recover from that incident. I had told my story to a few friends and non of them understand what I’m going through. I even went to a therapist and that did not work either.

The molester still lives normally. I see him from time to time and I can only feel hate, anger, and frustration because he is free whereas I’m here trapped in my own psycho disturbed life.

I am with the Uprising of Women in the Arab World because children and females still can not speak out and stand up for their rights when it comes to sexual molesting and violent crimes committed against them.

For in our culture, these issues are taboos and it is better to suppress them for the sake of the family’s “honor”! what an absurd honor…


Story Ten: Ghada from Palestine

It happened…

Everything hurts, still.

I could breathe easier than I did a year and six months ago. Sure, I still fall to pieces when no one is looking but I am able to pick them up quicker with the hope my friends gave me and continue to give me.

I now live with my younger sisters for the first time in years and when I look at them I know I cannot protect them from everything. It would be wrong of me to promise something to them my parents couldn’t keep. My mom and dad and even my partner at the time broke their promise to me that night. It wasn’t their fault, I know this but I had wished she was there to save me.

I was laying there, bleeding, scared and alone in the middle of the night. I wasn’t in any physical pain, I think I was just numb all over. An estranged man sat by the water smoking a cigarette as soon as he was done with me. As if my soul had not been crushed, as if this man earned his cigarette by raping me. He did not just sexually abuse me but he beat my unconscious while doing so. I haven’t told anyone the entirety of that night only because I don’t remember all of it. Unwanted bits and pieces of that night come to me as time goes by. It hurts but I am still here. He crept behind me. We fought. He violently raped me. I woke up and he was smoking a damn cigarette, with not a care in the world he looked straight at me and smiled. I had no idea who he was I just knew that he was a lot older, Hispanic and a “he”. I picked myself off the grass after a while, I’m not really sure how long it took me to finally get up, but I did and I walked to my apartment barefooted and my house-mate was not home. I was alone but I was also numb.

This will help…

“Read the Quran and say a little prayer.”  “Talk to your friends, it helps.”  “Go to therapy because it is always easier to talk to a stranger.”  “Just wait it out and the pain will lessen.” “Come with me to a yoga class.” “Come with me to kick boxing class.” I love my friends and they love me  so much but I’ve come to realize that only I can make me feel better about my traumas but of course with their help. I cannot count on anyone to make the pain completely go away. It happened. I will forever deal with it. I’m not sure of this quite yet but it feels like the rest of my life will be a “process”. Most of the time I think “curse the process, I have to live with the memory till the day I die.” But it does get easier.

Two strikes would just put me on pause…

Sure, I fear that it’ll happen again and again and again. That some man will just abuse my body whenever he feels like it because HE can. Usually when I close my eyes or when I’m alone, I think for a second, the longest second of my life, that it will happen again. I’m very fortunate to be surrounded with very optimistic and happy people. Palestinians have always been occupied and this time we are being killed in front of the international world, the UN and the USA allow it…

if the Palestinian children can get up in the morning and surpass the shootings and the apartheid wall then I could surpass this horrible event that happened to my body. I hated men for a very long time but eventually I learned to hate people’s actions rather than the people themselves, this for my sake and not theirs. Secretly, I dislike it most of them time when my friends say “you’re strong.” “You’re the strongest and bravest woman I have yet to meet.” “Stay strong.” What does it mean to be weak if I am not strong? Being raped should not be measured by strength versus weakness. Sometimes during different state of minds I think “right now I feel scared therefore I am weak” but of course this is NOT the equation of how it goes. Being raped is a kind of trauma that some people do not survive from but I did.

“Normal” does not exist, it never did so I stopped wishing for everything to go back to being “normal”.

It happened to her too…

One of my best friends called me less than two months ago and as soon as she said “Ghada, stay on the phone with me for a bit”, I immediately knew what was going on. I have never wanted to be near anyone as much as I wanted to be physically near her at that moment. When I was raped I was scared and I wanted someone to be near me, simultaneously I wanted to die. She was scared and I was scared for her. I stayed on the phone till she got home and I was assured that she was ‘safe’. My heart broke a thousand times because my best friend, another beautiful independent woman, was just raped by another vicious man who felt like he had the authority to do so. Helpless,  I was oceans away.

And now society plays a role…

I have not told my parents. That summer I flew to Palestine to visit them but I only stayed for about a month. I hadn’t allowed myself to cry or to absorb what had happened to my body and soul. I guess I was in denial or in shock or even both. My mom will not be able to take it. If I had told my father he would have blamed me just like society would have. I really didn’t have time to fight with anyone about who’s fault it was, I knew I needed to ‘fix’ me so I made my trip to Palestine a bit shorter than expected and bought a ticket back to the states. I was angry at my father because when I was little he would physically abuse my mother, me and my brothers. He hasn’t changed. I am still angry at him because I needed him that summer to be my father and not a stereotypical Arab man who will hate me for what a man did to me. I am still disappointed because my father will probably, most likely look at me with disgrace; I “allowed” a man to touch me, beat me, and come inside me. I wanted so bad for him to hug me and say “Ghada, it was not your fault and I love you no matter what.” I know if I had told him I would have been crushed yet again…

So if you’re a father, hold your daughter tonight and tell her “no matter what happens to you I will always love you.” Tell her this only if you mean it. I am telling you this as an Arab woman and as a daughter, if you are anything like my father or like the Arab society than just know that your daughter will have secrets like these that she will keep from you. If you are anything like my father than I feel sorry for you, how dare you put society over her. What is worse than this is to know that my parents cannot be here for me because of our sad, insecure, patriarchal society. Let us help each other fix our society before we decide to fix our country. Fix ourselves before we try to fix our governments. And Bahrain, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Lebanon and etc… Let us fight for each other rather than with each other. If you’re a woman and you’re Arab than I applaud you for fighting for my rights as well as yours because I know how hard it is to fight the men in our lives. For me as a Palestinian woman, I will only speak for myself, but I know it is harder for me to fight men like my father than it is for me to fight Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint.

I look into the eyes of my sisters and think “oh my God, please fight for your rights to exist as a whole.”


Story Six: B.J. from Saudi Arabia

I’m a girl from Saudi Arabia. I live with my four sisters and with our father (the so-called father or what he is supposed to be) after he hit my mother and kicked her out of the house and now she’s not divorced and living with her parents. We meet her at the market or in a restaurant according to the dictator’s orders, my father.

That man, whom I knew as a father since the day I was born, hates women and girls. He curses them and casts his ultimate anger on them, whether they were close or far from him. That father has beaten my mother up many times over endless problems which I witnessed since the day I was born and it was all over absolutely trivial matters.

He has beaten me up very badly in Ramadan because one day I went to the pharmacy next door without asking for his permission. Even though it was during day time and I was completely covered and my face was covered too! He started beating me hard with my own shoes and hit me many times with his forehead. Even when I tried to argue he hits me. One time he hit me very badly because I argued and I was good at it. He doesn’t want anyone to be better than him or gain wisdom and courage. He treats us the girls as if we know nothing and we don’t have brains. He always told us, ever since we were little, that we were useless and that we can never be good at anything and won’t understand anything.

He once hit me so hard with an empty water gallon that I almost lost my eye. He then accused me of being mentally ill and took me to psychiatrists. He claimed that I wasn’t normal because I talk back. He gave me drugs for mental illnesses for about a year. I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia knowing that he convinced the doctors to do so, he convinced them to take his side as they have no morals. They fear no God and don’t do proper diagnosis and that’s the case with many psychiatrists in Jeddah. They seriously need to be scandalized and their façade must be uncovered to show who they really are. I turn to God, may Allah punish them. They take money, on the expense of the oppressed and the weak, and give false diagnosis.

He almost had me electrically shocked, but I begged him, the doctor and everyone in the hospital to let me out before they did that. In fact, one of the doctors told me that I was healthy and I had no mental illness whatsoever and that he didn’t agree with this unjust and untrue diagnosis. My so-called father still thinks I’m ill, he’s giving me Sericol drug by force and if I refuse to take it, he beats me really hard and sticks his finger in my mouth to make sure I swallow the pill.

He beats me up and I don’t need him!

For all of that, I’m with the uprising of women in the Arab world. I support this uprising which I believe must be intellectual and cultural, and not swaying from faith and religion or leaving the veil. An uprising where the prevailing and controlling patriarchal rules are replaced by new rules, where there are penalties with fine or prison for each man who abuses a woman violently, mentally or psychologically. An uprising in order to change the prevailing thought in a society that considers that a woman is weak and can’t think for herself, that she’s just a tool for a man’s pleasure and satisfaction.


Story One: Abir from Lebanon

Name: Abeer
Country: Lebanon

Age: 11 years
Secret: Rape
Reaction: Absolute oblivion of childhood

Age: 14 – 17 years old
Secret: Verbal and physical abuse
Reaction: I remembered the rape, decided to put an end to this violence.


Black belt in Karate, facing the past, revealed the secret and was freed from home, the chains, the taboo of society and the taboo of the deed… rejected the thought that maybe it was my fault and talked about it to try to recall the memories.. I couldn’t.. yet, but surely I will..

Since then and till forever I am with the uprising of women because we can’t be freed except like this and because:
No, I’m not from my family’s house to my husband’s house
No, I won’t keep silent because it’s easier and because of what would people say about us
And no, because I’m a strong free woman who is not ashamed of her past, body or her options.


Tell Your Story Campaign Call

On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, “The Uprising of Women in the Arab World” Facebook Page is launching “Tell Your Story” campaign, a new call for women in the Arab world. This campaign will last for 2 weeks: from November 25 until December 10, 2012.

Because the stories hidden under our pillows need to come out in the open Because the only finger of blame should be pointed at the aggressor, not the victim Because the scandal is in the criminal act, not the victim’s reputation Because our silence is a self-inflicted punishment and an impunity to our aggressor Because we have to step out of the circle of fear and isolation into the circle of confidence and confrontation Because almost each one of us has endured a form of physical, psychological or sexual violence, just for being a woman: an arbitrary deprivation of liberty, or a sexual harassment (at home, at school, at work, in the streets…), rape (including marital rape), female genital mutilation, forced marriage (including marriage of minors), crimes in the name of “honor”… Write your story, ending it with the words/sentence:  ”This is why I am with the uprising of women in the Arab world”.

Send it to us via message to our FB Page or via email and we will publish it, mentioning only your first name and your country.

You can choose the format that fits best your expression: text, photography, drawing, painting, video…

Let us speak out to liberate ourselves, and make the world listen.