I sat at a corner with my back to the wall.
I touched my face with my trembling hands.
My mom came with a cup of water and a towel.
She cleaned and caressed my face.
Her tears were non-stop.
“I wish your dad hadn’t treated you and your brother differently.
If you were treated the same, your brother wouldn’t hit you.
I am tired of discrimination, disrespect, and abuse.”
She wiped the tears off her face and continued,
“My brother would beat me.
Your brother beats you now.”
Through my pain, I smiled bitterly at my mom.
I also dream of a world without violence,
A world where every woman has rights,
Where there are no barriers,
And I can go to school,
A place where when I am courageous, they don’t call me “manly,”
And I will not cover the bruises on my face with makeup.
I will build the world that I dream about.
Mom, you brother was beating you,
And my brother is beating me,
But I will not let my son to beat his sister.
Note: In Afghanistan, the word “Mardana” literally meaning manly, is used to describe brave men and women.
Read this piece in Persian here.