I was born a girl…

I was born a girl…

“Born a girl” means being judged by my family and relatives for who enters or not “the place” – a “place” where my entire family’s value and honor lay, i.e. “between my legs”. “Between my legs” is my father’s honor, my sisters’, my uncles’, yeah everyone in my ‘tribe’. The only one who has the power to enter that area must be approved by them or forced on by them. So you go through life knowing that you are judged and crucified because of “the place between your legs”.

For me, honor is not that… Honor is to LOVE. For me value is to honor self value AND the value of others no matter their race, color, sexual orientation or religion. For me love should conquer EVERYTHING. But no, if a certain individual with a different religious affiliation falls in love with someone outside that religion then hell breaks loose and if it is a girl/woman then her name changes to a ‘whore’. Same if she falls in love with someone with a different color or race – what if she is a lesbian? Certainly that boys/men are judged horribly too when it comes to sexual orientation, but girls/women go through multiple channels of horrible situations.

I am a woman now… A shame to my family, but I will ALWAYS be proud of being/becoming a woman. I at least have the dignity to see further than race, color, religion and sexual orientation and choose my life and whoever I want in it….

“Between my legs” has nothing to do with your honor or value, dear family…. It has nothing to do with my honor or value either. That area is personal and none of your business, so take your shame elsewhere and leave me alone. I am a woman and it is time to FIGHT BACK!!!!

About Sandra El Khoury

Since I was 4, I have questioned the world around me. I knew from as early as that age that I didn't belong with my family. As soon as I could hold a pencil in my hand I started to write about honor culture and that pen is still there, ready to speak up about the injustice we women face in the Middle Eastern society. That pen will never rest.

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8 Responses to I was born a girl…

  1. Celine August 10, 2016 at 9:50 am #

    Courageous Sandra!
    The issue of family’s honor is still a taboo in this region. Fortunately women like you raise their voices.

    • Sandra August 10, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

      Thank you Celine. And yes, we women need to raise our voices and I will do it a 1000 times more as long as it is needed and one day I hope that the world will change and women get equally treated as the men…one day

  2. Chantale Khayat August 10, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    Thank you for your testimony. It must be hard to talk openly about your family and your own perspectives. Women have a long way to reach equality in Lebanon and the Arab world. The more we are here for each other and love each other as women and men who believe in equality, the better chances we have to advance as societies. Keep it up!

    • Sandra August 10, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

      Thank you for reading it Chantale. Yes, it is hard to talk about my family and relatives because in the end, even if they have destroyed my life, I love them. If I didn’t love them it wouldn’t be hard. So yes, it is hard, but my therapy has always been to write about my situation and I NEED to express myself or go nuts. I choose then to express myself. I wouldn’t survive without the written word, both mine and others testimonials in here on Red Lips High Heels and other organisations that fight for women rights and against honor culture. so therefore I will keep it up. It’s a promise!

  3. Hayat C. August 10, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

    Well done!
    Can’t thank you enough for this post. I too love my family but I can’t “submit” – and won’t. I have my will and nobody owns it.
    I too am proud to be a woman. I bet there are thousands out there who wish they could feel it and say it out loud.

    • Sandra August 12, 2016 at 12:34 am #

      Hayat C thank you so much for your encouraging words. And Yes, unfortunately there are thousands and thousands more out there who were have a voice but are afraid to lose it or had a voice but are too broken down to remember that they did. This is why it is so important that these kind of organisations like Red Lips High Heels exists. I am just lucky to be one of the men and women who got MY story out there.
      Dear Hayat, I can see so much strengh in you between the written lines of your message. It takes a beautiful courageous woman to be able to Answer too, not only to write a story but to read and answer a story too. So let’s be strong together. Thank you again for reading and commenting.

  4. Khatib August 10, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    People need education and awareness campaigns. Even if laws change just like the one banning honor crimes in Lebanon, they are not enough as they need to be applied. If most people are still stuck in patriarchal mentality, the law won’t be applied. Check out Manal Assy’s case. Such a shame… shame on the judge who released her murderer and by her judgement “decapitated” the new law and more, reinstated “honor” as a pretext for violence against women and murder.

    • Sandra August 12, 2016 at 12:47 am #

      Dear Khatib. I am a member of the organisation called KAFA in Lebanon and I follow every case closely so I know EXACTLY what you are talking about and you are SO RIGHT. I also follow the new law that they tickled a little on when it comes to the foreigners who work in Lebanese homes.
      So are these poor people treated like humans now? No
      I feel so sad for my origin country Lebanon and that a country that call itself “the most modern country in Middle East” still have ancient inhumane circumstances for women. (A woman can still not pass on her nationality to her children if she marry a non-Lebanese)
      (No civil marriages allowed) (Religion courts still exists)
      But here we are Now, You, me, other people on this website PROTESTING AGAINST THAT. That’s our little revolution dear Khatib and that is better than to silently see injustice and continue like nothing happened. So keep on PROTESTING, for the sake of all Manal Assys in the world!

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