Trigger Warning: Rape

Disclaimer: The following poem is partially fictional in order to convey the story of what happened to Zainab from her perspective. May her soul rest in peace. Ameen.

Thursday, just one more day,

Then it’ll be the weekend.

I did my wudhu,

I read my quranic lesson,

I went to the madrassa.


On the way,

I thought of all the gifts mama baba would get me,

From Makkah and Madina.

The toys, dates, clothes,

And Zamzam.


I arrived.



I began to read my lesson,

I finished.

Allah Hafiz.

Khuda Hafiz.


I started jumping my way back to khala’s house.


I looked around.


He smiled.


I smiled.


Would you like to go to the park?


I giggled.


Mama says I shouldn’t.

It’s okay, I’m your uncle.

My innocent self agreed.


He held my hand.

We walked.

He held my hand tightly,

We walked,

And walked.


It got darker.

I asked to go back home.

He smiled.

I held my Quran tightly against my chest.


We got to a truck.

Get in bachay.


We’ll go to the park and have ice cream too.

He pushed me in.

He drove.


He drove.

But never to the park.

Never to the ice cream truck.

But to a far away house,

Away from mama baba.

Away from khala.

Away from everyone.


I started to scream.

He slapped me.

We drove to a house.

A few uncles inside,

No aunties.


Where is the park?

They all laughed.


Then everything was black.

Something touched my face.

Then my head.

A blindfold.

We were going to play.

Hide and seek.


They started to spin me around.

I laughed.

But then someone held me hard.

Shiver ran down my spine.


I heard laughs.

I felt my tears.

Someone snatched my Quran.

Not my Quran.

Mama would be angry.

My hijab.

I tried to run.

But hands everywhere.

Please let me go.


Threw me on the ground.

My head hit the floor.

Everything went black.


When I woke up,

My legs hurt,

I was in the sky.

I was safe.

Thank you Allah.


I looked down.

I saw the men dump my strangled body in that truck.

I saw them drive away.

I saw my Quran in the house left away.

They drove and drove.

And I watched them.


They threw me in that heap of trash.

I stood above me.

Crying at my poor body.

The men ran away.


I waited for khala to come.

I waited for my friends to come.

No one came.

I waited.


Day 1 and 2 and 3 and 4.

No one came.


But day 5.

I saw people picking up my body.

Sorrow on their faces.

Grief in their hearts.

I smiled.


I saw them cry.

With anger and heartbreak.

They protested.

For who.

For Zainab.

For me.


I was captivated by this scene,

When my ears heard a scream.

Shot after shot.

Someone was shooting.

I looked around.

Found men,


Shooting at the men,

The protestors.


I cried at the scream of a man.

He fell on the ground.

But minutes later,

He was standing next to me.

Up up in the skies,

We watched them all.


He smiled at me,

With kindness and sympathy.

But I knew he was a protector,

Not a predator.

I smiled back.

Fighting my tears back.


The number around me increased.

They were crying,

But my sight made them smile.


Now up here,

We watch over my friends.

When they jump to the madrassa,

When they play on the swings.

We tell God to protect them.

From all the bad things uncles did to me.

The dirty things which made me cry.



One day.

One day.

My world.

My Pakistan.

My friends.

Mama, Baba.

Would be safe.


Love, Zainab