These past few weeks have been disastrous. During that time, I reached out to an old friend of my father’s nationality out of sheer desperation because I was in a situation and place where I didn’t know anyone nor did I have any means to help myself out of the situation.
After explaining the seriousness of the situation, this person promised to help… and several days later and after a few follow-up texts from me which received no response, I had to call it.
I knew better than to contact that individual. But I did anyway out of hope that during this holy month of Ramadan, an old friend would be willing to do a good deed.
Boy, was I wrong.
And then the disillusionment hit like a ton of bricks.
It’s just this; If you don’t fit the pre-fabricated narratives of what it “means” to be an Arab Muslim woman, you are invisible and will have zero cultural capital. Your network of individuals you knew for however long, be it since birth or someone you call “cousin” because your parents immigrated together on the same “boat”, will snub you for things beyond your control or doing. You will start to understand systemic misogyny and patriarchy as well as classism. People will no longer think of you for opportunities.
This is the social and economic death. Things I probably already knew, whether consciously or subconsciously, but it took allowing myself to be spit upon again while I am down and having to relive past traumas, to truly feel the full depth of the injustice. My anger and grief is still bubbling up. I spent a day cursing the entire community and had to call a friend who faces similar stigmas before I could begin to calm down. It seems like only marginalized women support other women.
I don’t know if I can ever feel ok in those spaces again. Not after the neglect and the malicious nature of victim blaming. I imagine women with sharpened teeth which drip blood as they talk about an unsuspecting victim. I realize just how deeply women play a role in perpetuating these systems which marginalize other women.
There is something profoundly wrong with all of this.