In Syria, women agonize in silence, away from the lights of attention, away from media coverage, away from the heroism men are proposed, and away from gratitude for their majorly vital role in the ongoing uprising. Misogyny is one of the primary factors for the lack of rights for most of the Syrian women, specially those in the suburbs. But, misogyny and the authoritarian, suppressive hierarchy of men, starting from the father and ending with the teenage brothers, is the most manageable obstacle facing our women.
Assad regime has relied on the truism that women in Syria are reckoned by their “sharaf”, or virtue. Social stigma of women detained by the regime then released is rudiment in the country’s norms. But, and because the subject is very broad and difficult to explain in a few lines, change must come from our side. Therefore, formerly detained women decided to speak up and blurt out a fraction of the severe torture and humiliation they underwent in the regime’s prisons, the rush of emotions ranging from utter strength to heart-gripping weakness. They broke the walls of stigma and shame and are determined to tell their stories, and the least you could do is to Know.
I will translate a series of articles composed by a dear female friend, telling the journey of a former female detainee, Layla, in the regime’s prison and post them in this blogpost [update it with every new article]. Her articles are posted in Hentah newspaper. You can check them out, along with other articles, on the newspaper’s Facebook page in Arabic here.
Four Walls, My prisoner, My Entanglement, and Myself
His snores become strikingly louder behind these walls… It is nighttime already, can I let go of my tears? Can I sense my body? His snoring becomes ear-piercingly loud, and I feel a bit satisfied… How long will he stay asleep? How long will my body rest from all the pain?
Surrounded by mold, I try to climb, to stand up on my feet in this blinding darkness, but my feet refuse to obey and I nearly collapse to ground level. Arduously, I force myself to fall down gradually, in utter silence, for I did not want to wake up the Satan sleeping outside.
I suppress the sob within me just like all the other sobs I kept inside since they brought me to this moldy basement, just like the sob I quelled after the first slap, first punch by the back of the sniper bruising my head… I shushed them all inside the way I shushed the sob when his hand stabbed my body and stripped my clothes off me; I become dizzy and disturbed when I recall how I was hand tied whilst my clothes, tore by his atrocious hands, crumple down my body. My eyes were still blindfolded; I continued to jail the furious tears in my eyes and the thunderous screams in my heart. He removed the blindfold afterwards, and I laid my sight on my bag and my dear belongings: ID, university ID, mom’s photo, mobile, house key, the book I bought yesterday…All scattered on the filthy floor. I moved my sight to my feet and spotted my into-pieces clothes on floor too, not away from his military boots.
I resisted my body quivers… I tried to untie my hands so I would cover up my body, but my wrists, tightly tied to the back, betrayed me.
He leaned in closer to me and my body began shaking amidst his first touch; I buried my screams inside and painstakingly attempted to stay composed. I feared that I surrender to this goblin creature. “What is wrong with you, what the hell…” he said then slapped my face. I swallowed a new sob; I won’t allow this monster to see me defeated. I continued to attempt to hinder my shivers. “Listen to me if you are obedient and speak politely, we will be better than you are, Aroura [allusion to Sheikh Arour, a prominent anti-regime Sheikh], but if you stay stubborn and disobey us, we will bring in the grooms outside and let them enjoy their time here,” he said. These particular moments are what I want to forget; I just want to forget all that has happened afterward. He wanted to demean me, yes, to demean me; my body caves in and for the first time, I feel that my soul detaches from my body. If I were to have no body, I would have to feel none of this pain. I cannot unleash myself from these chains and fight back this monster. All I have to do is to detach from my body and leave it agonize. I must surrender to the torture; I thus whispered to my body:”Lets endure this agony; we have to stay steadfast together.” Slowly, I felt as though I was reciting supplications for Him [my body] to bear all this…
I do not remember what occurred then, maybe I fainted. All I know is that I am now trapped between these walls devouring me as his snoring made me numb.