No matter how long agony continues, joy will come one day

Resisting the influence of years of grief and oppression made me call my youngest daughter ‘Farah’ [i.e. joy]. In spite of all the pain, I still prefer to be optimistic. Perhaps life would finally offer me what I dreamed of and wanted, it might give me what I deserve and what I struggled for. May life truly bring me joy, after the name of my daughter, someday.

In a beautiful house in the city of Raqqa, I was born to a father and mother who prefered males over females in everything. I lived for twenty-eight years in a family that had a magic lantern devoted to males, while the girl was for them an unknown, marginalized and weak creature who brought them nothing but worries.

We were six girls and three boys. My sisters and I were deprived of completing studies, and we were prevented from leaving the house. We lived isolated from society, and our beautiful home became a prison we wait the first opportunity to escape from. Of course, ways of discrimination my parents treated us with passed on to my brothers, who did not hesitate to discriminate against us and more. They treated us like servants at all times, and we didn’t hear a word of thanks from them.

But I never hated being a female. Rather, I loved and believed in myself.

The more cruel they were, the stronger I became. I met their unjust behavior with discussion and confrontation and demanding my rights. I have accumulated all my strength and courage in my heart, despite their attempts to convince me that I am a vulnerable creature just because I was born female. My goal in life became to prove to them that girls can also be strong, intelligent, able to live, befriend and love without making the mistakes that society makes us believe to be inevitable.

My little sister and I endured our harsh conditions at home. We were shoulder to shoulder encouraging each other, without being weakened by what my parents and brothers always said to us; “You are a girl and he is a man, you have to stay at home until someone comes to marry you!”

I was eager to discover life, but at the same time I was sad to have a lot of clothes in my closet without being able to wear them because I was forbidden to go out, except for the few times we visited relatives. However, everything we did was put under the spotlight, and the eyes of my parents would always be on us throughout the visit. We were surrounded at all times.

Warning: this story contains distressing details about war
To download Fatima ‘s story, please click here