I can’t tell you name or father and brothers might beat or shoot me. I’m indefinite because don’t think they’d succeed. I’m not like many Muslim women in Europe who pay plastic surgeons thousands to cut semicircles in vaginas and sew up with dissolving stitches to reestablish virginity, primitive standard of purity, so they can pass gynecological exam demanded by potential husbands and families. If fail women fear they’ll be branded dirt and condemned to life without men. They should talk to me.
Twelve years ago I came to Europe with nineteen-year old face partially obscured by hijab and body shrouded in burqa. At university I was surrounded by young women whose attire I found appealing. Attention they received from males also resonated. Stay away from guys, two older brothers ordered; back home Father will decide which man you marry. Every month at school that notion became more absurd. Even dressed as I was, plenty young men noticed and we began to talk under trees and in cafeteria. Several asked me out. I always declined until right one persisted, and cool morning during two-hour break between classes he drove us to restaurant few miles from school. Afterward, he rushed me back minutes before brother arrived to pick up.
In few months this routine no longer satisfied. Boyfriend and I needed privacy, and he drove me home. You want us to kill you, brothers shouted. No, I said, but I’ll emasculate you for having girlfriends. Youngest brother slapped. I grabbed vase and smashed forehead. He threw both hands over wound and collapsed. Elder brother charged and punched me in jaw, which broke, and I went to hospital and he served three weeks in jail.
I moved in with boyfriend. He told brothers, and Father who’d rushed from our country, next time you’ll face gun. Regrettably, I tired of boyfriend, decent fellow but not for life. Unable to return to family or country, and not interested in so doing, I discarded repressive garments and worked as waitress in fine restaurant. Over years leading to law degree, I’ve had romances with several men, and as attorney I earn more, I expect, than brothers combined.