Saturday, June 10, 2006

From The Mouths Of Babes

During my meeting yesterday afternoon with the two young women (ages 16 and 18) that I am representing in an asylum case, we spent a lot of time discussing their upcoming interview before the asylum officer. They are understandably nervous and have a lot of questions and concerns as to how their case is going to be handled, and who it will be handled by. Both girls are Muslim, and they face, among other things, forced marriage, forced prostitution, seclusion, physical abuse, and possible death if they are forced to return to their country.

During the last four months, while I have worked with them, I have learned so much from both of these girls. They continually amaze and inspire me with their tremendous courage and strength. Both of the girls are incredibly smart, and I am astounded that they have developed into such wonderful young women given the oppressive and abusive circumstances with which they have grown up. They continually surprise and sometimes delight me with their insights and perceptions. Even when those perceptions are often the product of the difficulties they have had to face, and reflections of sad truths.

Yesterday during our discussion, my 16 year old client turned to me with a look of pleading in her eyes and asked, regarding the asylum officer that will be assigned to the girls' case, "Can we get a woman?" And then solemnly added, by way of explanation, "They have feelings."

I love these girls.


Sister-Friend said...

Wow. Your work is so amazing. I am trying to imagine what it would be like to be those girls. After all they have been through, you bet I'd be requesting a woman asylum officer too. Not that a man wouldn't be compassionate. But I can't imagine a woman not having compassion on these two girls knowing what they would face going home.

Sister-Friend said...

One more thing...

Reading this post makes me proud to be a woman. Proud to be part of a global sisterhood. Some men (not all) may rule over us with their brutish strength. But what we may lack in physical strength to stand up to or defend ourselves against brutish men, we more than make up for with inner-strength, as these two young women (and you, dear Buttercup) demonstrate in this courageous and heroic fight for them to have a future of peace and freedom.

Keep fighting the good fight.

Buttercup, you're one of my heroes!

gravelly said...

You are one of my heroes, too, Buttercup! You are a gift that has been given to these two brave girls! I love you!

Buttercup said...

Aw shucks...Thanks for the encouragement! But trust me, if you met these girls, you would want to help them to. They deserve it. It makes me feel like I'm a part of a Sisterhood of Women as well working with them.