Parinaz Naeemi

I returned empty handed, yet my heart is filled with confidence that my decision from five years earlier was the right one!

Tuesday 20 February 2007

The experiences that I have had in collecting signatures for the campaign were mostly similar to experiences of my peers. In some cases obtaining signature have been easy with no hassle, and in some cases they were not. My first experience was with a woman who was experiencing severe emotional abuse from her husband and his family. She did not sign the petition. She said, “ I have to talk to my husband regarding this.” My second experience was with one of my friends who worked in a governmental firm she told me with a certain pride and determination that she never sings any petition.

The experience that I want to share with you today is of a different sort. This one has amazed me in a way that I hope it might touch your hearts.

Today I chose another way to get signatures for the campaign. When my seven years old daughter went to park to see her father, who has recently remarried, I joined them. I started the conversation by saying that the issue I wanted to talk about is related to our daughter’s future. I talked about the campaign, about its purpose, and about its future work. Then I talked about discrimination against women. I had naively assumed that he would sign the petition, and I would write about it as one of my most successful experiences. Instead, he said, he could not sign the paper because he had no idea about the issues I had brought up. Then he added that he is not sure the changes of law would have a positive impact on our lives. He said “ in each society people have to be ready to accept and handle freedom, and I am not sure our people especially our women have this potential and readiness.” He believed that the conflict between traditional and modern ideas about women right brought a lot of confusion to our society. He said, “ I wish life was like old days, so men were less deviant and women were more obedient!” I asked him at least read the pamphlet to get some ideas about the campaign, but he said, “ I can not take the pamphlet home.” Indeed, he told me that he is not ready to read it. I replied, “Have you ever thought about the fact that in your absence, your father will get custody of our daughter and after him your brother? That I would be irrelevant in the eyes of the law, when in reality, even he would vouch that I am more qualified than any one. He replied to me if something bad happened to us and my father got our daughter’s custody I am sure he would not make any decision that would hurt her, so I should not worry about this matter.

I said farewell and began to walk home. I returned empty handed, yet I knew in my heart that my decision for divorce 5 years ago, had been the most intelligent decision of my life. A few hours later, he brought our daughter to my home. As he was leaving he asked for a copy of the pamphlet to read on they way home. I consoled myself that it did not matter if he refused to sign or even why he had refused to sign it. The mere fact that he agreed to read the information on the pamphlet, might help him realize what lies in the future of thousands of young girls like our own.

The Farsi Version of the Article


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