(Un)lucky to be a lady

As a general rule, I don’t follow the news. Mainly because I have a platinum member subscription to the “ignorance is bliss” club. Call me selfish, or ignorant, or  a poor example of a strong, independent woman – but the truth is, I deal with enough crap day to day. If I start taking on board the crap of the world, I’d pretty much stop functioning.

This week I was struck down by the dreaded pink eye (and on a side note, while googling symptoms like the hypochondriac I’m starting to become, I found this. I mean, what the fuzz? Seriously kids, stop it, like right now) and as I lay full of self-pity on the couch, some of those dreaded current affairs I so avidly avoid managed to side step my guard and worm it’s way into my brain.

And yet again, my belief in ignorance was reinforced.

Have you heard of Gulnaz? Let me paint you a picture: Afghan woman gets violently raped by her cousin’s husband in the family home. She realises she is pregnant as a result, goes to the cops, and guess what happens? She gets put in jail. For adultery.

I could stop right there, and you’re probably already thinking “what the hell?” But it gets worse.

20_gulnaz2_w_SML

Eventually she gets pardoned after international outcry, but she gets put in a woman’s shelter. A shelter which she has to get the permission of a male relative to leave if she ever wants to go anywhere. Not exactly the kind of freedom and compensation you’d expect for a woman wrongly imprisoned.

As a result, in order for Gulnaz to have even a sliver of a normal life for child, she eventually marries. Oh yes, she gets married TO THE MAN THAT RAPED HER. Now THAT is messed up. Second wife to her cousin, to the very man who landed her in prison and a refuge for three years. And her daughter loves him like a father (which, ironically, he literally is).

I was always an avid believer that you make your own luck, and you’re responsible for your choices in life. But it’s now crystal clear to me just how big a hand luck has dealt me. Lucky to have been born in the right country. Lucky to have been born in the right age. Lucky to have been born to a family and culture that holds beliefs that would never put me in a position like Gulnaz.

And I’m not going to let that luck go to waste.

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