About the author: Frozan Shahnoori is an alumna of Star Educational Society. She was a student of teacher training and creative writing classes and will major in business when she starts her university studies in the near future.
Birds and butterflies are so lucky, they have short, but unforgettable lives. Most of the time I get so jealous of them. They are lovers, like me. And I am as vulnerable as they are. Birds love trees, butterflies love flowers and I love education and freedom. But there is a huge difference between me and them. When birds and butterflies go to meet the objects of their affection, they do not face any harassment from others. They are free to fly in the clean and peaceful sky. They are free to sit on a branch, peck at seeds on the ground, and drink sweet nectar from spring blossoms. But when I leave my home to meet the objects of my affection, education and freedom, men harass me in different ways. Sometimes with their eyes, sometimes with their words and sometimes with their hands
I am equal to men and superior to men who abuse me in the streets. Although I may be physically weaker than some of them, I am more educated and talented than they are. They spend their time in the streets harassing girls, but I spend my time seeking knowledge from books in libraries.
Afghan men should trade places with me for one day. No, no, they are not as brave as me to pass one day in my life. I want them to walk in my shoes for only one hour and do the things that I do and wear the clothes that I wear. I want them to cover their whole body on hot days and listen to all the pernicious words that people like them say to me. They must not say a single a word about their abuse to any member of their family. If they do, they may be imprisoned at home by their family. I want them to think about their beloved sister instead of me. I am sure they would not dare to harass their own innocent sister.
I know that none of these men would accept my dare to spend an hour living my life, but they should be sure that their harassment will not stop me. Every day that I seek education and freedom, enduring the menacing behavior of street harassers like them, I will become more powerful and my eagerness to learn will increase. With the weapons of my strength and knowledge, I dream of saving other girls from the wolves that prey on innocent girls who are determined to advance and improve their troubled nation.