• Yemeni Feminist Movement

Depriving me of my rights is an obedience to my family

Updated: Jan 20, 2020

Unfortunately, girls in my Yemeni community have been considered as a burden and completely dependant on their families, their husbands, and everyone who comes across their lives. They have grown up with these demeaning thoughts, as if they were created against nature. They live humiliated, always reminded that they are the shame and honour of the family, as if they had chosen all these struggles.

Under another title, “obeying the family” in my Yemeni community, some girls are denied to visit a doctor to check up on their health.The reason is that one visit enough and there is no need to repeat visits. After all, what will people say about them? If they refuse, they are disobedient.

Some girls are not allowed to complete their studies, because they call them stupid girls who cannot accomplish anything, while no one has even given them the opportunity to study or to find out why they face such learning difficulties by reviewing specialists.

Not only that, but it is not important for them to continue their education; it is not among the priorities of being a "housewife". As evidence of their chastity and obedience to their families, their most important duty is serving their families and in the future their husbands!

A true story stemming from Mukalla: a young girl (23 years old) lives with her family, she is always classified as spinster, stupid and other obscene words which are causing her to lose her self-confidence everyday. Every night she dreams of her knight who will marry her and take her out of this misery life into the pinky life she is dreaming of. She knows already well that none of that will come true. Because her family taught her that a good wife's duties are to be an obedient servant to the ruler of her life ( future partner ). Rather, she is a sex doll that fulfills her husband sexual desires without any distractions such as refusal, expressions of pain or unwillingness . She should be like a doll, in the most beautiful version of herself, even if she doesn't have anything to help her design herself as a doll!

We do not forget the powerful role that women who surround her play in this destruction. When her mother tells her after each slap, bruise and insult from him that it was her fault, because she caused his anger and went out of his command. Her mother condolences for her are by telling her to obey him and do everything he commands, in order for him to love her and view her as the best and not look to other girls.

This tragedy is experienced by many Yemeni girls inside and outside of Yemen. Harmful traditions, practices from false methods of religion were formed from the thoughts of ignorant controlling individuals to justify oppressing innocent females.

Dear mom, sister, and friend ...

Be sure that you were created by Allah in the best creation. Liberated and free to live a decent life with dignity. Living on the earth to build it and not to be violated and humiliated.

Please, stop being silent and fight for your soul, your body, your sisters, and your daughters! You do not represent the honour of the family. You choose who you are and how you act. Enough humiliation and belief in all this nonsense that you were brought up to believe.

You deserve to learn, to be happy, to work, to have fun and to live as you want.

Yes, as you wish.

Stop believing that you are dependent, insufficient, or weak.

You raised up generations, leaders, fathers and brothers.

Do not forget that you are the greatest.

By Arwa Bin Salman


Arwa Bin Salman, born in Aden 1998.

Student in Medical Nutrition in Germany.

I speak Arabic, English, and German.

I'm passionate about writing and raising awareness especially for women in my community.

I'm not an expert, but I'm ready to learn and grow.

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