Why are Somali girls not given grace or offered any redemption after youthful indiscretions? Why are they(we) considered worthless, tarnished, damaged goods?
I remember when I was pregnant with my son when one of my father’s distant cousins who lived in the same house with us accused me of stealing from him. He said I stole his credit card and supposedly paid my phone bill with it as well as bought abortion pills it. I of course did no such thing, but he knew I was down given my situation – pregnant out of wedlock and the entire family upset with me- and kicked me while I was down.
Karma would have it that the same man would be arrested the following week for – you guessed it- stealing. He stole from his employer’s cash register while he thought no one was looking. Of course, the cameras are always looking.
My father who had previously thrown me under the bus when this man accused me of stealing by saying,” way ka suurtagashaa (it’s possible given her situation),” solicited me for money to bail this man out. My father was soliciting qaraan(collecting money) from everyone to bail him out. I asked him why he was collecting money for this man who had obviously committed a crime? Especially since my father took back a check from me that he wrote for my college studies not long before that when he initially found out I was pregnant.
Apparently, he rendered me worthless and no longer worthy of investing in.
He said to me loosely translated, “men can bounce back from shame, but women can never.” And mind you what I did was a personal indiscretion religiously speaking between my Creator and I, and personally may warrant, yes, my parent’sdisappointment, but it shouldn’t have cost me the loss of his supposed unconditional love.
So, to add insult to injury, not only did he not defend me from this man’s slander, he also raised my blood pressure by asking me, the injured person, to contribute to bail this man out- all because he has a penis, and I don’t.
As you can imagine and or guess, my father and I have a very estranged relationship due to many violations before and after this incident which he has not apologized for. He believes that no amendments are necessary. And that is why our relationship fractured beyond repair.
But this story isn’t about my father and I’s relationship. It’s about Somali girls/women not being given any grace and or redemption by their immediate families as well as our greater society.
So I want to speak for (and to) young women in similar situations who have no one and nowhere to turn to.
Young women are not allowed to make mistakes. We are not allowed youthful indiscretion and to grow from that. We are completely tarnished and disregarded and considered damaged goods. It’s in the way people talk about us and our children. It’s in the way men treat us like shit and as though they are doing us a favor. And after being beaten down mentally and emotionally, one may even accept their mistreatment because our self-esteem has been completely shattered. After your family has disowned you and your child, it’s hard to build yourself back up.
Society throws away women like us, but we have to be our own best friends, and create our own tribes of people who truly love us.
I need you to know you have inherent worth as a human being. You need to dig deep and rediscover that. Look in the mirror and repeat after me,”I am important. I am worthy. I am my own hero.” Isbadbaadi. No one is coming to save you. Build yourself from the ground up.
And keep your head up, ok?