Sixteen days. Sixteen stories about her from my diary.

Day 6: Fatma

Fatma is tall, very tall and stunning. Her long black hair is hidden under a conservative hijab. She barely puts makeup on, for her natural beauty needs no makeup. Fair, soft, skin, almond brown eyes, the perfect shaped nose and lots of height, rare height in a woman in this part of the world. Although for someone who knows a lot about body language, it is not hard to guess the lack of self confidence Fatma holds within her.

She got married at the age of seventeen purely based on her choice to a young man from the neighbourhood who she loved fondly. It was mutual love. Their love could be written as a fairytale story.

Art work by Raz Xaidan, she can be found here and here

Fatma never completed her education. He, on the other hand had a bachelors degree under his belt. Her wrote to Fatma love letters admiring her beauty, her smile and her presence. He sang classical romantic songs for her to express his love, with a shy smile she would drop her head down in embarrassment. The context of their life had challenges, families interfered in their relationship and two children later, life became more difficult by the day. Still in love. Still two souls connected, but drowning in problems from left and right.

Her wrote to Fatma love letters admiring her beauty,

Amidst the various problems faced, Fatma decided she had enough. Enough of family interference, enough of challenges, enough financial difficulties and just enough. Even though knowing the details of Fatma’s marital problems I know they exist in every home, among every couple. Nothing rare and nothing out of the ordinary, although their financial challenges may have been a little more than some other young couples.

One day, in the midst of an argument she told her husband ‘I will burn myself,’ he did not believe her and continued the argument. After a moment of silence, he turns around to see Fatma burning in flames. That is exactly how it happened.

he turns around to see Fatma burning in flames

From hospital to hospital he took his burned wife. It was a suicide attempt over an argument. Months and months of medication, and years later, on Fatma’s arms, a little part of her face, neck, stomach and parts of her back have burn marks very difficult to avoid and here to stay for life.

Marks on her body, with every look at her mirror, or every time she reaches for an object she is reminded of the suicide attempt. For a few years she wore gloves on her hands in an attempt to forget ‘that day’.

Today, Fatma is still with her husband, they are still in love, and they still call each other by ‘my love’ and not by name.

But I know, deep down, the scars of suicide on Fatma are lifelong. I wonder what if Fatma had gained a little of critical thinking skills in her early education; I wonder what if Fatma actually completed her education, what if she learned breathing techniques and all the anger management tools there are, what if Fatma reached to marital counselling, what if she addressed her mental health, what if she was supported by the right people who noticed her unstable mental health, what if she went on a walk during her moment of frustration, what if she breathed, what if she learned how to cope… would she burn herself, and attempt suicide during an argument with her husband?

Sometimes, it is our system and education that commits the violent act against women, by not empowering them with the skills necessary to live life…

#16Days #16DaysOfActivism

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