Life as a sudanese woman

Ayeesha - 31st August 2014

Life is hard. Everyday I feel, unwanted, judged and worthless. I am denied the right to be educated, subjected to extreme levels of violence and overall, I am treated as a less valuable individual.

A Sudanese professor says that the level of attractiveness associated with women has dropped. Apparently, over the last 25 years us Sudanese women have become very ugly. He says that an ugly women creates distress in a person, and that it, personally, makes him feverish, causing him to suffer, a lot. He also states that women are now not as valuable to have by your side, as they are not attractive, meaning that they can no longer make men look better, "basically worthless" he says. According to the professor, “all the big poets used to write about the beauty of women. But now, you can’t find a girl worth writing poetry about.” Now I can't even look at myself the same. Whenever I look in the reflection of the water in lake, all I can see is his words, "women are ugly, women are unattractive, women are worthless". What does that mean for me. If just one man is saying this, what is everyone else saying? How am I meant to hope that someday, I will treated equally when people are treating me and my gender like this?

Today brother is heading off to his first day of school. I, myself, have never seen a school book, let alone been taught to read one, or read at all for that matter. This isn't unusual. All of my friends don't go to school. Father says that I should be happy that I don't go to school because if I did I wouldn't be able to learn how to cook and clean, I don't see how that is such a good thing. He always says that it is essential for me to be good at 'domestic duties' because otherwise no man will ever want to marry me. He told me that if I was smart and educated I would be seen as less attractive and less appealing to marry, I don't want that because if I don't marry someone, what would happen to me? I wouldn't be able to survive.

Women, including my own mother, have been subjected to extreme levels of violence. Father demonstrated this yesterday during dinner. Apparently mother said something he didn't agree with. He pulled her into a room, slamming the door with a loud thud. I couldn't see anything, but I heard enough. Father emerged from the room, followed closely by mother. She had a large gash across her forearm, many bruises starting to form on her legs and arms, a large red mark on the side of her face and a nose that was three times bigger than it should be. He stormed right up to me and bent down so our eyes were aligned, he said 'take this as a lesson, do not displease me or any man who you may be associated with. Your one and only job is to please them". Father has so much power and I have so little, that terrifies me.

I want to run away, but I can't. I want things to change, but they won't. I want to be my own person, but that's never going to happen. This is the life I am going to live and I have to learn to deal with it.

Credits:

Created with images by Foreign and Commonwealth Office - "Week of Women"

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