Hi there! Yes, you read the title correctly. I escaped an honor killing. How? It was a long, arduous process which took several years of planning. Honor killings are very prevalent despite anyone who denies its existence. I also believe that honor killings include intimate partner violence. Honor killings happen because women’s lives are deemed worthless and disposable. I could not live the life of my own choosing without dire consequences. I had to surrender power and control over my career choices, my friendship group, who I could date, what I could wear and I was forbidden from solo travel.
Escaping is a major luxury. I didn’t have to worry about jeopardizing my citizenship status. As a childfree woman, I didn’t have to worry about how I could afford rent, transportation, and childcare. I bought my own car so that I would be the only person whose name is on the title. They couldn’t (legally) come after me. I quit my job because they knew where I worked. I survived three months without health insurance. I drove Lyft full-time in-between jobs until I found my current position. Escaping wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t work two jobs. Lyft enabling me to escape an honor killing is something I could’ve never predicted. We live in a gig economy, so side hustles aren’t uncommon.
I was on twitter today and I saw a campaign regarding an honor killing of a Palestinian woman named Israa Ghrayeb who was beaten to death by her older brother. Why? Because she met up with her fiancé prior to the wedding. Honor killings happen every single day. Growing up as a Muslim woman, it was common knowledge that my every move was being monitored. I internalized that my testimony amounted to half of a man’s. Marital rape and domestic violence would be tolerated because, Islamically, that’s acceptable. I had to wear these hideous tent-looking garments because men would rape me if I didn’t cover myself. I’ve been silent for too long. They had a plan. You don’t even need a background check to buy a gun in the US.
I should’ve gone to the police, but I was so worried about “embarrassing” them. I had internalized my perceived low-value. Being told your life is essentially worthless will make anyone second-guess themselves. Knowing your life could be snatched right before your very eyes will make anyone cautious. Leaving is a luxury for Muslim women worldwide. I now have absolute control over my financial, economic, legal and reproductive decision-making power. I’ve traveled to Costa Rica and Colombia solo. I’m planning to travel more in 2020. I no longer have to pretend to believe in Islam anymore. I celebrate my freedom each day by speaking truth to power. I have an entirely new level of respect for myself. I celebrate my freedom by traveling and learning about the world around me. I wake up each day grateful. I can’t believe I get to have this life.