I Am For Sale, Part II

Editor’s note: This is a follow-up from the essay that ran in January, I Am For Sale, Who Will Buy Me?, by one of our writers who faced a forced marriage. Thanks to an outpouring of help from readers and others, she was able to match the bride price and buy her freedom. This is what her life has been like since then.

I was for sale, and had three months to find a solution or accept my fate. I stood with helpless hands, but I was lucky, the luckiest woman in my country; with help, I was able to buy my freedom. Among millions of Afghan women, I stood up to our crazy culture and its violence against females. After I bought my freedom, I thought it was the end of violence against me, the end of torment in my life, the end of tears.

My family moved from the house where they were living, hiding their new location from Uncle. Uncle began searching for me, following me step by step. He did not know I had married another, but our disappearance posed a question. I was a wanted person for him. I had broken his pride and power; I stood in front of his money and wealth. Because of this, Uncle wanted one thing: revenge. He no longer wanted to buy me as a wife for his son. Now, he wanted to buy me as a slave.

He found my brother and kidnapped him, taking him to southern Afghanistan, and sent warnings. He wanted me, but my coward uncle held my brother to try to find me. Uncle sent word that if I didn’t appear before him and answer his questions in front of a jirga (a tribal assembly of elders that makes decisions by consensus), he would cut off my brother’s fingers. I didn’t know what to do, but I told myself it was my right to buy myself, to buy my freedom.

A month passed in this way. Then I learned Uncle had cut off three of my brother’s fingers. I can’t tell you the pain I felt. I didn’t think I had my own fingers. It was my fault because I know my country; I know my family.

Now Uncle knows I am married to another, and he can’t tolerate it, that a woman broke his pride and power. “How dare she escape from my decisions? How dare a woman do this? I don’t let a woman stand in front of me.” Uncle sent a message to my mother, ordering me to appear before him, to say I’m sorry, and he wants my husband to apologize too and give Uncle one of his sisters as a slave. Uncle wants another deal; he wants his pride back. He wants to continue enmity generation by generation, and he wants not only me, but my children and all my family to pay the price for my decision.

When I bought myself, I was proud of my success. I still am, but I also am not. I can’t forgive myself if all my family members are sad, disturbed and disabled for me. Did I deserve freedom so that another young girl must now give up hers? Did I deserve the freedom that cost my brother part of his body? Is it ever possible to bring a positive change when we struggle against forced arranged marriage?

I live with my husband, and we are happy, very happy, but we feel life is short. We wait to hear what Uncle will do next. To be honest, I sometimes feel I don’t have the energy to continue, but I think of a man who took my hands and taught me all men are not cruel. I am concerned for my husband, and I live for him and my sick mother and my dreams for my education.

I don’t see a solution. In my country, I am considered bad, and people blame me for standing against my family, failing to respect my elders, and rejecting a life serving the husband my uncle chose for me whom I didn’t love. Only my pen tolerates my choices. I bought my freedom, but violence still follows me, and I can’t escape, and I still wish I was not a woman.

By Anonymous


Comments

  1. You are so courageous. What you have done will help every woman in Afghanistan. I am so sorry that you continue to suffer. Know that you are a jewel, and every hardship makes you shine brighter. You are blessed. Thank you so much for sharing this story.

  2. My heart breaks, reading this. It is so hard to understand men who force marriages, take slaves, do violence to others out of pride, make others live in fear for their lives, deny others simple happiness.
    I am so sorry. Please keep up your heart and your courage, know how many of us are sending you strength and love to bear what you are being made to bear. Your beautiful spirit shines far beyond your uncle’s attempts to control. I am glad you have a husband who loves you and shows you what kindness truly is. Thank you for writing this, sending much love.

  3. Thank you for the courage you have shown in standing up for your human rights, an enormous act of bravery, and then sharing your story with us, another brave act. We are with you in heart and spirit.

  4. Thank you for the courage you have shown. You have stood up not only for yourself but for many women. The repercussions of your bravery go far beyond your immediate family and send a message to the society. It pains me deeply to hear of your brother’s suffering. I know that you suffered as much if not more than he from this terrible act–the act of a despot. Your courage inspires others to realize that a woman’s body and spirit are of value.

  5. Carol McNair says:

    Thank you for being so brave to tell your story. Educating people about the realities of your world is such an important step in creating peace and obtaining women’s and human rights. I believe our young people may be our only hope for a future that realizes this vision. As a teacher and a human, I promise to do my part in getting your stories out and educating our young people, so that someday you may be free. Thank you for giving me this tool. My heart is with you.

  6. Happy to be a Woman says:

    I hurt for you, but I also applaud you for your bravery. Your uncle is a sick, sick man. You are a beautiful soul. You are not responsible for his evil doings.

    Your bravery to stand up to this evil will help other women after you. I know you cannot see that now, but your act of strength is like a pebble in the ocean – the ripples will grow larger and larger.

    Be proud of your strength. If all women in your country were as brave and took this action, things would change for the better.

    I love being a woman, and I hope that one day you will, too. Women are the bearers of children and life, are beautiful and loving, and the world would be very cold without them.

  7. I feel so sad for these women, living in such horrible lives.

    and at the same time I hope you will find a life you deserve and that now when the world can hear you, then the world should not sit silent, they should help those Afghan women who are living like this, I dont know how to help you, but iam sure there will be a way for you to live your life in peace.

  8. My heart breaks reading this story. You are courageous and noble. I cannot imagine living the life you must lead.

  9. Deborah Henry says:

    Know that there are women all over the world who hear you. You are a gifted writer and a strong person. There is support for your work and for who you are. Thank you for sharing your story and your courage with all of us. We are here for you.

  10. President Hamid Karzai, must denounce this and take bold action no matter the cost. The U S needs an ambassador for humanitraian issues in each distinct area of violence, especially violence against women. Where are the leaders of these countries and of the religions? (Isalm?)
    Where are the leaders of so called developed and civilized nations? If Nations can unite to denounce nuclear proliferration, global warming, whale hunting and that missle rattler in North Korea, Why can’t they at least have a global summit focused solely on the this sanctioned organized violence against women? Did we learn nothing from Hitler’s death camps? from Sadaam Hussein’s chemical genocide?

  11. Your writing brings pain to me half a world away, but I hope you feel less sorrow knowing that you are spreading a message to help ensure a better future for all women.

  12. I hope that you can stay free from your ‘Uncle’ forever. Do not blame yourself as the cause of your families suffering. Your family suffers as a result of your ‘Uncle’s’ actions; he is the ruthlessly self-serving individual. He and he alone is to blame.

  13. The path to change, to uncover and reveal, is taken by those who dare. If not now, when? I draw courage and strength and energy from your story. Thank you for sharing it. I hope your story, sparks inspiration everywhere. Good luck, sister, and may peace follow your heart and efforts.

  14. Dear friend, no wonder being a woman is a wonderful thing, don’t doubt it. Strength and courage are our tools, and love and tenderness is our best ally. Let’s pity those who can’t feel this way and they are just filled by their pride and anger. Thank god you have a man by your side that can support you in this difficult situation. And many other women and men that share your pain, even if it is from afar. The violent reaction of your uncle, as well as that of many other men in your culture, is just the logical effect of the fear of having ALL women standing up and saying “No”. This is why dissident voices need to be shut down. And this is why we all must continue fighting the wrong. All my love to you

  15. As I read your story and your sorrows, my heart screams and cries for you.

    From my life thousands of miles away, I wrap your life in love, peace, blessings, hope and light.

    Thank you for your bravery, even though you suffer so greatly for standing up for what is right. You are changing the world, sister.

  16. We are so inclined to be almost unable to remember: “I think of a man who took my hands and taught me all men are not cruel”. It´s a very necessary concept for your survival. Thankyou.

  17. You are courageous for sharing your story. It takes people like you who are brave enough to go first- to help make a change in the world. Your story makes the women in your country more real to the rest of the world. You no longer seem like a face in a magazine or on the news- it makes you more human; it brings light to the conditions for women there and makes us realize that things need to change. You are no longer some woman in some country on the other side of the world- it brings you closer, it makes you real to rest of the world.

  18. Please, please sweet friend, don’t give up. It is hard to be a symbol, but this is what you are: a symbol of strenght and pride. And freedom.
    Don’t give up my friend.

  19. Marie-Laure says:

    Dear Sister,
    What about the laws in your country? Your story is about power. This man is using tradition and wealth to squash other under his will. This is not a good man, and he would not have been good in an other country either! Except that in a country protectig his citizens kidnapping and hurting an individual is punished : this man could end in prison if caught.
    Is there any power greater than him (and legal) that you can call to protect you and your familly?
    Tell us if we can help.

  20. It’s so hard to believe that in the world there are again such things, mainly for who live in Europe or America, where women are free to decide of their life. It give’s me pain read that what for us is quite normal, for lots of women could mean death.
    You are a brave woman …. go on for all women like you, go on for your mother, for the memory of the good man was your father, for your husband but mainly for you! I know it won’t be easy, but I’m sure you can do it! You have been so strong in you life!! God bless you dear sister! I’ll pray for you and your husband!

  21. Dana Lynn says:

    Dear Sister. I have read your story. I have been moved by what you have written. I am in pain for all that your family is enduring. I wish your Uncle a release from his suffering, I hope he will find a way to let go of his obsession with your family.

  22. No woman, no human being, should have to buy his/her freedom in this day & age! I commend you for your courage & I’m happy that you’ve found a good man. I hope the universe will do something to make the situation better for everyone there. Keep up the good fight. We’ll keep you in our thoughts & prayers.

  23. You are so brave for standing up for your basic right: freedom and self-determination. It is a shame that it takes such courage and action to have what is rightfully your right as a human being. Writing about this is a way that you can prevent others from being like your Uncle, as we can hope that things can change. While I can understand your concern for your family, their love for you is clear and their desire to do what is right and support you and your husband is something that you should not feel guilt about. Let us know what we can do to help, but in the meantime we will pray for you and for all who stand for human rights in Afghanistan.

  24. Dear Afghan Sister…

    I am so sorry that your life has this kind of hardship an suffering. You are wise, courageous, and because of your uncles vileness there may be ones that suffer but please allow that to be his own. What you are doing by having a “no” must be so difficult but in time many women will know of your life, your courage, and they too will reach deep within and follow your path of strength. This is how it is for the ones leading the way into the uncharted dangerous frontiers of conscious raising, where thousands and thousands of free women will be standing on your shoulders.

    Know my prayers and heart reach across the miles and encircle you. . .You are loved and you are love.

    Many blessings and prayers from this one to you and those you hold dear, brave Sister. . .

    Honor, love, and peace
    marci mattes

  25. Thank you for taking your stand; you took it for all women. Think of all the women who might now be able to do the same thing you did. I know it is hard; I’m sorry for the pain you suffer, but your are a hero. Keep your courage; the whole world benefits by it even though some will suffer, including yourself. I am thinking of you, and inspired by you.

  26. Kay Marie says:

    My beloved Sister, I am standing next to you, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart. Oh, that I could just somehow remove you, all of you from such unimaginable horrors. I am sending love to you and yours from the verdant Prairie.

  27. I cried for what you wrote, I feel it by heart. I hope you find your way soon.

  28. I admire your strength in choosing your destiny. You are a hero.

  29. Your story brought tears to my eyes. You are such a strong woman who has been forced into making very difficult decisions. I hope other women facing such impossible decisions can read your story to see that there is hope. May you stay safe from “Uncle”. I hope that some day the oppression of women in every country ends. Stories such as yours could help spark the change needed to end the oppression. Stay safe.

  30. Hi
    is there a way we could help you? Let us know. Can’t you escape to Europe? We could try raising funds for you and your husband.
    All the best to you and you have all my respect and admiration for what you are doing

  31. Your strength and courage are a testament to many people – a beacon of hope for others. I couldn’t help but notice that God blessed you with love by your husband even in the midst of devastating anguish. I believe that was His way of honoring you. May God bless you with peace.

  32. We stand with you and are inspired by your courage.

  33. Thank you for sharing your life and your pain and struggle with us. I am in awe of your courage and inspired by you. Please do not blame yourself for what your Uncle has done. You have taken your own life into your hands. That, I believe, is the reason for living. May you and your husband have a lifetime filled with love and happiness.

  34. Kimberly Carpenter says:

    You are so courageous to tell us your story. I’m sure that there is little that I can say to comfort you, but know that in the telling and retelling you are a powerful instrument. You are more powerful than your Uncle can ever be with the atrocities that he has committed. Each time you tell this story, someone somewhere reads or hears of it and it will resonate with them, wake them up and give them the courage to tell their story too. In this way we become global sisters against violence. The violence committed against you is violence against me too. I want you to know that I stand with you in the face of fear. Be ever powerful!

  35. I’m so sorry you are going through this and that your mom and family are going through this. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Please know that I will be praying for you every day.

  36. Pati Hunt says:

    Never say you wish you were not a woman. It is because you are a woman that you are such an example, that you know and feel the way you do and that, whether you know it or not, you are paving the way for future girls to have their freedom. Your brother’s loss is terrible and I am certain that he did not deserve it. However, he was perfectly willing to sell you. That is HIS lesson. It is awful, I know, but perhaps he can now walk a mile in YOUR shoes.
    Please, stay strong. I don’t know you, but I am proud of you. Hopefully your family will stay with you, supporting your choices and fighting this battle alongside with you.
    much love!

  37. I really am sorry for all the pain you and your family have been through. This must end and this will end, it is only a matter of time and it is also a matter of determination of the majority. From Argentina we sympathise with you and with your country. You are not alone, and not forgotten.

  38. The first thing I thought is SERIOUSLY??? What is it with the women in Afghanistan not standing up for themselves??? I would have cut the “nards” off this jerk she calls “Uncle” a LONNNGGG time ago and used him as an example for the other men. This “Uncle” needs to be put in his “own place”. Stand up for yourself! YOU are YOUR OWN PERSON. Who cares what “Uncle” wants, that is HIS PERSONAL PROBLEM and NOT YOURS! Let him know he CANNOT and WILL NOT affect you or your family. Do whatever it takes to stand up for yourself, your kids and your family. DO NOT let others rule you for you are your OWN person! Stop being afraid, stop allowing yourself to be the victim and GET MAD about it! Show them your soul is stronger than theirs! Show them that only the weak abuse others! Show them you WILL NOT tolerate it anymore!

  39. I am so sorry you must walk with the sins of the world. Walk in our love my sister, We have moved west away from it but still we are so full of other sins here due to money that we have looked the other way.
    oh Afganastan, please let the people be free so they may serve from their souls and not their fear.

  40. this story doesn’t end with this character, it has been going on since the history of Afghans begins,, helping out one , is not going to be the end of this story, so many worst stories than this are still hidden there which are neither told by anyone nor heard by anyone , because the victims have accepted it as their written destiny as they don’t see any way out of it…

  41. I am very much thankful to this site, helping these women to have their voice.

    I also request from all that please help these writers, or this writer will have the destiny of the girl her ears and nose were cut by Talibs.

    We cant feel pity when it is late. and I am sure her uncel can kill her easily, I have been to Afghanistan, with Nato forces, now am back to my country. I talk with friends if I can help her, be responsible help her please.

    We are all with you.

  42. With people like you,who needs a hero,you are one and am sure with many people like you,the middle east and afganistan will be free from the shackles of cruel oppressors and women can have their freedom of choice.The price you have to pay is what happend to your family but that is life,if you don’t pay a price,nothing good will happen.I pray for your safety and God bless you and your loving husband.

  43. Dear Sister in Islam,
    I am very proud of you for standing in against the others.You are a hero.But the same time im saddened with the misfortunes that keep tangling you.Your uncle is truly a sick man. May God show you the way.

  44. Remember always – “When the need is greatest God’s help is nearest to you”

  45. I am a Nigerian Girl, who is burdened by the restrictions placed on me by family and society. But after reading your story, i am ashamed to complain. This is because whatever restrictions that is enforced on me pales in comparison to what your pen just told me. Thank you for reminding me to value what i have. Your courage and strength is amazing.

    On the other hand, don’t let society take away the pride of womanhood in you. Be proud of that which you are, A WOMAN, strong and resilient, giver of life. That says it all.

  46. You should not succumb to pressures from your uncle and anybody whatsoever. It is quite absurd that some could continue to degenerate into barbarism in this modern age. Be steadfast, courageous and never give in to uncultured cultures. God will be your shield.

  47. be angry would probably the proper way to fight against un-justicesm. When you angry, you are double stronger. Cos you knew you are right, you have the right! Oh sister

  48. Arielle Cascata says:

    You are indeed a brave, courageous young woman with a story all young women need to hear and so does the rest of the world. Your fear and stress breaks my heart. Thank you for sharing and for taking a real stand against the outrageous customs of your country. It is an honor and a privilege to read your words. May you find strength to endure, wisdom to proceed and peace in knowing you have nothing to regret. Standing with you, Arielle

  49. I hope you wont have the same destiny as my sister. she was forced by an arranged marriage and she ignored, after a year she lived happily with her husband, then my father killed her in her house, dont do any thing now, but try to think about your safty. dont be careless as my sister, when she married she didnt pay attentions to my father’s warnings. my father sweared to kill her and he did.

    My sister had a son, he was one years old when she died, four years passed and he became a very cute child, six months ago my father killed him in a well. I cant forgive any one in the world who couldnt help us.

    I feel sorry for you. dont let your uncle be the same as my father. I cry for you.

  50. how i wish i could help you :( I had also experienced emotional abuse from my father’s relatives but not in the same way you are experiencing now. like malik, i cry for you :(

  51. I wonder why people and humen can be like this and how?

    I am sorry for you, at the same time i shame to say sorry. you are not alone the courge you showed to say your words, will show you a way to be away from your uncle and voilence at all.

    I hope all the readers every one understand you, you will be a big leader for women of your country in the future. never stop the war against voilience we all stand with you. I send you strenght.

  52. The most important is not to give up ! Very slowly but things will change for the better. I hope all is well with you.

  53. Message for MALIK:

    Dear Malik, I was reading you history, but what the Authorities and Government will do for you???
    And I’m western women, I would like help you, but a I don’t know HOW??!! I believe in God and Jesus Christ.
    Malik do you have e-mail??!!

  54. I can imagine the pain these women suffer…

    I am thankful and proud of your courage wrote this story for humanity who still hears and are alive for humen beings to live safe and in peace.

    I will be shameful and wont forgive my self if I hear something is wronge with you and we couldnt help.

    I request with my hands and cry with my eyes and speak aloud and call the women all over the world to help you.

    Please help her, not for respect of being An Afghan, but for respect of being a human.

    Please help her, and put your hands in my hands. Thank you

  55. Sending prayers to you that you will remain safe. We admire that you continue to write your story for us to learn the ways that must, and, will change. We need to know that you can find shelter for safety and put our hands with yours. Thank you for your written words.

  56. You are the voice of all Afghan women that are suffering under these circumstances. I feel for you and hope that god will have mercy on you and your husband. You have to protect yourself. If you need to ask for help from anyone responding to you, please do so. Let us know how we can help. Give us guidelines. We are not in your shoes but would like to be there for you. Please let us know how we can help. Please email me. I am very saddened reading your story however I also see a courageous woman who does not give up, who stands up for her rights. As an Afghan woman, I am so proud of you to write your story. I am praying for you and will continue to pray. Keep us posted. Love

  57. I am crying and praying for you.

  58. JuliaO'Neill says:

    Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. My heart goes out to you and to the other courageous women of your country. You are in my thoughts and prayers and one day God will honour you for all that you have been through.

  59. Barbara Murphy-Bridge says:

    What a heart breaking story . I feel totally helpless because violence against women seems to be so prevalent in Afghan tradition and culture . Only EDUCATION can change it .

    Women are brainwashed from an early age about education not being Islamic for girls.

    Many men have no education and only the Imam can lead them to the true path , unfortunately too many Imams are uneducated , or interpret the Qur’an incorrectly and not as it was written.

    Educating the women and the men in Muslim society is the only thing that can change the ‘Culture’ of Afghanistan.

    Muslim/Moslem’s do not like Westerners interfering in their Culture .BUT, Volence against women comes under BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS issues not culture . The Afghan Constitution is a signatory to the United Nations Human Rights Accord. One of those HUMAN RIGHTS is EDUCATION and another is FREEDOM TO WORK.

    ** Created 9 July 2003 the EVAW COMMISSION ( Elimination of Violence Against Women) .” The EVAW’s goal is to identify, analyze, and put efforts to eliminate ( stop) violence against women” .

    One of the members on EVAW commission is ZOHRA RASEKH for Afghanistan.

    I believe she is still in the position of LEADING THE HUMAN RIGHTS & WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

    ** Constitution of Afghanistan was approved on January 4th, 2004. signing the BONN AGREEMENT

    Article 22: ” The citizens of Afghanistan – whether woman or man- have equal rights and duties” .
    Article 44: “The state shall devise and implement effective programs for balancing and promoting of education for women, improving of education of nomads and elimination of illiteracy in the country.”

    ** Signed at The London Conference on Afghanistan on 31 January- 1 February 2006 AFGHANISTAN COMPACT – Principles of Cooperation – one of which states : ” Recognize in all policies and programs that men and women have equal rights and responsibilities. ”

    Having said or quoted all the above , tell me HOW CAN I HELP YOU , in a realistic way , as one human being to another ?

  60. Anonymous – you ask if you deserve freedom at the cost of another’s life or limb, and the answer is, yes. I know our culture are very different, but I believe that every human being deserves freedom at whatever cost – that is how revolutions are created, and you are creating one for yourself. It’s terrible that it comes at such an awful price for you, but that is the fault of those men, not yours. The blood is on their hands. I applaud your bravery and I hope you enjoy the most complete happiness with your husband.

  61. trully it is injustice
    1.women are no property that you buy them and nor they will be slaves
    2.they deserve love
    3.modesty is good but putting them under a big garment is oppresive
    4.equal education rights for women as men have
    5.education can only make some one come to truth it put’s men and women in right attitude
    6.she has all the rights to choose there mate’s
    7.they are not to be treated any less to that a man
    my prayers are with the afghan women . one thing i hate in islam is this the so called respect to women where is it in action people . you gota mature . dont say western culture is worst . go see the lifes of women at lest they have freedom hear.Man up men.

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