Bibi Gul, 50, lives in Herat province. She is illiterate. She wanted to study, but her family prevented her from going to school. Here is her story as told to Khadija.
Herat — My father told me that I should stay at home and help my mother with the housework. “You are a girl and girls should not go out of the home,” he said.
When I was just eight years old my father always was thinking about my marriage. He always pushed me to do the housework, saying, “You will get married soon and you should know all housework, or your husband’s family will say bad things about you. They will say that our daughter is lazy and she is not able to do housework.”
He said, “Instead of thinking about education try to be a good cook. That will be our pleasure, if you cook good.”
My father told me education is not important for girls. I heard his words, but in my heart I always thought about going to school. It is still like a dream in my heart today. That was the worst violence my own parents did with me. I am like a blind person.”
Bibi Gul was married at fourteen. The violence against her began with her mother-in-law who tortured her psychologically and physically.
Because Bibi Gul was so young she did become pregnant for five years. Her mother-in-law would shout, “You are a barren woman! We will get another wife for our son.” Bibi Gul cried and cried. “Many times I wanted to kill myself but I could not. I was so young I was even afraid of hurting myself.”
After five years she became pregnant and by then, her mother-in-law had died.
“She never saw her grandchild. My husband and I are both are uneducated. We understand each other now and after so many problems of our own we decided to send our children to school. We are blind; we do not want our children to be blind. I am not happy about what my parents did to me, but I want my children to be happy about us when they grow up.”
By Bibi Gul as told to Khadija