My name is Gulchehra and my life story is bad. I don’t want to make you sad, but something happened to me when I was young. I was young and I am ashamed to tell you about this subject but I have to tell.
I lost my parents and I used to live with my uncle’s family. My aunt asked me to marry her son, but I was only fifteen years old and her son was older than me. It was right after I rejected the marriage and one day I was alone at home when my cousin came and raped me. When I told this to my aunt, she asked her son to marry me, but he rejected this and said, “She does not have a father or mother. I do not need this girl.”
Unfortunately I became pregnant. Then he escaped. The family wanted to marry me to his younger brother, but unfortunately because I had no father or mother, he also did not want to clean the sin of his brother. They were despots to my rights because no one was there to defend me and I had no other place to go.
I continued living with them and doing their housework and bringing up my son. My cousin married and he made a good life for himself, but my life became terrible. I saw him the same as his brother.
Then he came home. At that time I wanted to leave. I went to Lahore in Pakistan. By that time I had two children. The second is a daughter. One day the child’s grandmother came to my house and knocked on the door. When I opened the door I saw a little girl, and then I began bringing her up also, along with my son. To get food for the two of them I worked at the plastic factory in Lahore. One day, one of the machines caught my hand and cut my five fingers.
Now with my limp hand I continue to live again in Afghanistan because of my children. I found work cooking as a servant in a home. I suffer but there is no other way. I must be father and mother both for my children and never give them the feeling that they have no father. I serve the home and according to my children, I can say it is satisfactory by name of Allah.
Editor’s note: This story is from an oral interview with Gulchehra conducted as part of the March 2013 AWWP Oral Stories Project.
This story is heart breaking. I applaud the oral project AWWP has undertaken. It is a brilliant way to tell the stories of those who cannot share them on their own.
This is a story of terrible injustice. You are very brave and strong to continue as you have been doing, and you have a big heart to take care of your children! May Allah bring you blessings.
It’s not ashamed but great to share your experience with all of us! Thank you!
You are brave and you are a great mother.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Out of the depth of misfortune always comes bliss!
You have your treasure of children, and now you have all of us!
Thank you for sharing your story with us. My heart breaks for you, but I also see you as a strong, courageous woman, and compassionate to take in another’s girl as your daughter. I pray that you will be blessed for all you’ve done for your children.
Your strength and compassion is your power. All those that have abused you will have to answer for their sins one day. Your children will love you and give you all you deserve, because you are a good mother, and they are your reward for that goodness.
Violence in the shape of forced marriage and rape is common in our country. We have been awarding the victim for her bravery. I believe it is time to wake up & change those suffered lives.
My work is to embrace a community-based approach to fighting for women’s rights. I can work for Gulchahra’s better employment. How will you help her?
Inshallah, you will find strength from telling others what you have endured. I send you my respect, Gulchehra. Thank you for sharing this with us. Shukran.
The bravery of these women continues to surprise me. Gulchehra, you are a strong role model not only for your children, but for all women. Love and happiness to you!
” Gulchehra ” i truly respect you . so much pain and taking up the responsibility on your shoulders for kids is great . you need not be ashamed the men who exploit women must be ashamed of there sinfull act . God bless you and your kids . AWWP your doing a gret job in getting these women to the world now they know there is still humanity in the world . THAK YOU
Hi my names Harper, Im 15 and go to Auckland Girls Grammar School in New Zealand. We have learnt a lot about Afghanistan in the past 2 months. This story was so sad, you are so brave to tell the whole world. To look after your 2 kids by yourself is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.
Your story really touched me, and though it made me sad, it also inspired me that even though you lived under such harsh circumstances, you managed to pull through and raise your own children.
It must be hard sharing your story with everyone, but you shouldn’t be ashamed. What you have done and what challenges you have faced only made you a very strong, independent, brave and loving mother. Thank you for sharing you story .
You are a brave woman for going through this journey alone, and trying your best to stay strong. You are truly an amazing inspiration for other women around the world who works hard for the sake of your children. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Gulchehra.
I can only imagine the hardships that you have gone through, and not understand what you truly feel about the life that you have lived. Through these flow of words, I hope that this project has helped you ease your pain. Please continue to speak through your pen and let us bear the load of agony you have been carrying. Though I myself cannot physically help you at this time, I hope that the hundreds working to help you where you are having an emotional impact on you, as it has for us. These words, I am sure, has moved us all, and I hope you continue to do so along with the other women and girls; because as we may be your hope, you are ours too.
I am very sorry for what you have gone through. You are a strong and inspiring woman, for you have continued to work hard to provide for your children, even after enduring so much pain. Words do not have the ability to describe the horrible situations that you have persevered through. You must have worked through such difficult times since you had to act as both the mother and father figure alone. Your story has made me realize that I have been taking a large number of my privileges for granted. It must have been difficult to display your journey, and I commend you for such courage. I do not know you personally, however, you truly inspire me to live my life without complaining about every minor complication I face. You were forced to enter adulthood at the age of fifteen, and I have not encountered any of the dreadful experiences you presented, but I know that you are an amazing mother figure. You taught me several valuable lessons. One day, I wish to be as hard-working and compassionate as you are when I grow up to be the mother of my own children. Thank you for sharing your story.