Then: She was seriously well liked by most people and was dating a stone cold fox. She was wonderfully beautiful, on the student council and the prom committee. She was the valedictorian for her graduating class and was set to go off to one of Canada’s top schools for pre-med. She spoke three languages fluently and always had the greatest outlook on things. When a young boy was killed at our school they had her give a presentation to all the homeroom classes in his grade because she knew just what to say.
Now: I asked her how she’s been, and she started to cry. She told me that seeing me reminded her of high school and when she used to be happy. She looked tired, worn out and 10 years older than she actually is. She said she had to drop out of university and marry a “gross old man” (her words), who is 14 years older than her and who she has had 2 children with, so far. She told me she is only allowed to speak her husband’s language at home, is not allowed to have her own bank card, not allowed to pick out her own clothes and not allowed to listen to music.
I wanted to know more, but she wanted to talk about high school so that she could remember it all. I asked her why she didn’t just leave – she didn’t really seem to have an answer.
Part of me knows how horrible this is. It is so tragic that women’s parents allow their daughters to be treated in these ways and actually set their daughters up with these kinds of men. It is horrible that the culture allows for this sort of thing to be normalized. On the other hand, I know this girl and I know that she isn’t oblivious to Canadian culture and the plethora of other options that await her… She could leave and be happy. It would piss her parents off, but she would be living a better life. Sure, she might get some student debt and have to eat Kraft Dinner for 3 years – but she’d be happy. I know it is harder, now that kids are involved… but I am really surprised that a smart and confident young woman allowed herself to get trapped into that kind of mess. This is one, of many examples, about why secularist groups should be closely aligning ourselves with feminist groups.
I guess a big answer to this is honour killings… I don’t know if her parents are the kind that would do this, but you never know… As if arranged marriages aren’t archaic enough – but killing to preserve your honour?! That seems so ancient and ridiculous. It is a prime example of religion mutating morality and rationality to a disgustingly dangerous point.