Coming from a very traditional society as Yemen, I always seek to find common grounds between Yemeni women's Muslim identity and their belief in gender equality.
My privacy was publicized by familiar hands that turned out to be foreign. Then, I was still a child.

Growing up, I was always taught not to walk the streets alone, especially at night, and if I had no choice but to do so, I was taught to walk fast and avoid eye contact to not give men walking around any ideas if I were to unconsciously look at them. I was taught to cross the road if a funny looking man was walking on the same lane “just in case”. I was taught to avoid shortcuts.

I had just started to hit puberty when my grandmother called me over.

“If you see a spot or two of blood on your underwear one day, don’t be afraid. Come and tell me right way and I’ll tell you what to do. This happens to girls, it’s a good thing that means you’ve started to become a young woman. It happens to us all,” she said.

When I mention my profession as a case worker with women in prostitution, all I get are clear question marks on people’s faces. Exclamation marks follow when I mention my regular visits to Hbeish police station in Beirut and my continuous conversations with women detained for prostitution.

Spoken and unspoken questions follow their wondering and surprise.