It happened to Fariha
All eyes were on me, their ears waiting for me to utter a word. I stood there in silence in front of them. The room felt suddenly hotter than usual. Sweating, my heart beat faster than sound travels. My brain was still forcing itself to get the word "women" out of my mouth, but my tongue was frozen still. I closed my eyes, clenched my fist, took a breath and continued again.
" Why is it that in Pakistan a w--," another block in my speech. What was the matter with me? I have to get the words out of my mouth. If I don't today then I never will.
I closed my eyes again and pictured my twin sister in my head. She has suffered a lot in this male- dominated society. We both were 18 when she was forcefully married off to a wealthy politician, who only regarded her as one of many showpieces in his house. Then the faces of my parents appeared in my thoughts, and I grew angry again. How could my mother force Fariha to marry a politician whom she knows already has two failed marriages and was accused of molesting a 13 year old girl? In Pakistani culture a father protects his daughter from brutes, but in this case my father gave Fariha to one.
I felt a sudden rush of guilt occupy my entire body; just because I stutter, I escaped from this marriage. In Pakistan, a man chooses his bride; a woman never chooses her groom. He chose my sister because she is flawless. Her hair the color of melted milk chocolate. Her smooth, clear skin, not too white not too tan: just perfect. Her hazel eyes surrounded by long, curly eye lashes. Her nose is the best in our family, thin and pointed. Her voice is fluent and beautiful like a bird chirping at dawn. My voice is not. I stutter. My stutter saved me from all the traumatic situations Fariha had been through because of her husband. And today I am in the Supreme Court of Pakistan fighting for the rights my sister deserves; I am fighting for the rights every woman in Pakistan deserves from her husband and society. I...