Male privilege is wondering why your aunt wont let your female cousin too long in the room with you.
Yes, to us women, rape and molestation between family and community members is a real threat, because it exists. It exists between males too of course, but right now I’m talking about girls. Particularly Afghan girls.
See, the conversation went like this. I was at hookah, when my guy cousin recalled an instance when a female family member pulled her daughter out of a room of our male cousins.
He was so appalled that our aunt could fathom something would happen to her daughter, in a room full of men that she should trust, that she grew up with and loved.
& I understood his disgust, confusion and frustration. He kept repeating, “That’s sick. That’s disgusting. How could she think that?”
And he’s right, it is those things.
But I cant hold a grudge against a mother who will take ever precaution to protect her child.
I know an Afghan girl who was raped by her grandfather. I know an Afghan girl who was molested by a mullah. I know an Afghan girl who was touched in a bathroom during a family gathering. I also know Afghan men who suffered the same, back home, and here in the States.
These things happen much more than we can imagine.
And by expressing outright disgust or throwing judgements in the air about women who might be paranoid of these things is completely neglecting the very real fact that they do happen within our community. Passing judgments only shrouds the issue, and prevents any real dialogue.
I remember sharing my cousins frustration throughout my life. I was a tomboy as a child, and felt so confused when my mother “checked up” on my guy cousins & I as we played video games. It really grossed me out. Ya I get it, cousin marriages happen mom, but I swear I don’t like him.
Little did I know that was the last of her concern.
As I grew older, my mom told me stories of this woman or that woman, this cousin, or that aunt, who had all been victims of sexual assault.
These things happen in every community. But when it happens to us, it’s a little different. In a culture where victims are vilified and shunned, our women have taken paranoia and defense to another level, so now I know why my mom did what she did with me, and why my aunt did what she did with our cousin.
To them, their nephews were not just their nephews. They were men, just like the men they knew back home, just like the men who donated to mosques while hiding deep secrets, just like the men who fondled their friends.
So to any guys reading this: don’t take it so personally. Ya ya we get it, you’re holier than thou, you’re not a sicko, you have SOME morals and SOME sense of decency. Rapists and child molestors are deviants, so I’m pretty sure none of my friends partake in those weirdo activities (I hope). But have some compassion. Come from a place of understanding. Look at life through our eyes.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world, right? This world, that’s so cold and harsh, that has so many trials and tribulations. Y’all love a war zone right? The fear, the competition, the ruthlessness. Well we’re playing too. We’re on defense mode 24/7, because our prize is between our legs, and we know way too many sisters who’ve been violated and broken and lost in this game.
So please, check your male privilege. And understand that we’ll protect our own at any cost.