I took all of our sheets and sent them to the washing room before my mother noticed. As I usually did. Except for this time, it wasn’t only for me. By the time I was back at the room, my friend was gone. I got dressed and ran out to her hut and was met by her uncle. Before I knew it I was screaming at him, making a scene. Several men walking by stopped to join in. before I knew it, I was surrounded. They only managed to pull my hair and push me towards the ground before my mom came out. She dragged me with her until we were inside. I expected comfort but got what I suppose those men were intending for me. A beating. The only difference is a fake Prada purse instead of a belt. I was no longer allowed to play with my friends. And the next day, I was sent to Quran school.
Quran school did the exact opposite of what it was intended to do. It made me terrified of religion. Anything that makes someone think that they have a right to hurt me terrifies me. Quran school was no different from home. You make a mistake, you get punished. Punishments hurt, a lot! On my first day I was asked to read, which I of course could not because the Quran was in Arabic and I don’t speak or read Arabic. I remember saying this to the teacher and him replying “No excuses, I told you to read!”. I repeated myself and a pen flew against my head. “READ!” he screamed. I repeated myself. One slap. I repeated myself. Another slap. “I can’t read Arabic,” I said one final time while crying. Punch! I ran out of school, nose bleeding. I didn’t notice my hijab sliding off while running. Before I knew it, men on the street started chasing me. One of them with a bat. Thankfully, many of them were old so I outran them. When I arrived at my great grandma’s place, I collapsed onto my mother’s feet and begged her to never send me back. She agreed, cleaned me up, and gave me a bowl of candy before sending me to my room. I suppose that visit had done what she hoped, made me surrender to her.
The following days I began asking my mother when we were going back, as school was starting soon. She kept saying soon but the more weeks that passed the more impatient I got. Finally, I lost it and said I was gonna run away if we didn’t leave soon. All I did there was spend time by myself. I couldn’t see my friends, and my mum was always out during the day and smoked shisha with her friends at night. So there was nothing to do, I was going mad. Not to mention no phone, no internet, nothing. All I did was watch Tom and Jerry, for eight weeks. My mother did not respond well to my threat, and before I knew it I was being beaten again. The oddest part to me to this day is the amount of people just casually standing around as my mom would beat me senseless. Then they would salute her as if she just did something good. As if this was just the normal way of disciplining your child. But the worst part was yet to come. Before I knew it I was locked in a different room. All I heard was chattering outside. An hour later the door opens and a bunch of women with bags come in. My mother comes in with them and locks the door behind her. They put blankets on the floor before pushing me on top of them. I start screaming and kicking in every direction. Two women pinned my legs down and another one held my left arm. My right arm was held down by my mother. I saw knives and tools of some sort and knew something bad was gonna happen to me. They pulled down my skirt and then my underwear. Then proceeded to spread my legs apart. I looked straight at my mom while crying, and said “please mom no” repeatedly until she looked at me. The second she did it was like she saw me again, her daughter. Before I knew she had kicked everyone out. She gave me a bowl of candy and sent me to my room. We never spoke of it again. But something changed for me that day, whatever part of me that thought she would never cross a certain line died. And thus began my plan to escape.