Dear Mr. President and everyone who can make this happen,
I do not want another girl to grow up like me.
I do not understand these strong emotions that cripple my mind and body, and cause me pain beyond imagination. Yes, physical pain. Or why I have this desire to keep running for survival, not understanding why I am in danger.
As I write this letter, I feel my head become light. I feel warm tears in my eyes and tension in my throat. My mind wants to shut down. I don’t want to go through this pain. Is it my fault I was born a girl when people were waiting in hope for a boy? Is it my fault that others got all boys? Did I do something wrong?
I grew up blaming myself for everything that went wrong in my family.
Now I feel anger, pain, sadness, weakness, helplessness, hopelessness, and I feel like screaming to make sure you hear me.
Let me tell you Mr. President, in my small, close-knit island community, people never speak out about abuse and mistreatment. We only hear the whispers of our suffering elders. It is as if these abuses are to be endured as a normal part of a woman's life.
It is difficult for me to write this, but I promised myself I would write so that others do not have to suffer. Please endorse I-VAWA.
The women in the Maldives suffer in silence. The last study of domestic violence in my country took place in 2007 and the statistics of violence were extremely high. For a long time I felt I was the only one in trouble. The silence is so powerful that we bury the unwanted pain deep. We bury the pain, but always it comes back to haunt us. Please sign I-VAWA.
I want to express my feelings for the women who suffer silently. I want to convey my hope for a future where women can reach for peace in their minds and bodies. It is in your hands to make the International Violence Against Women Act a success.
I am raising my voice for the children and women of the Maldives. I have the responsibility to raise my voice. Mr. President, you are in a position of power as the leader of a great country and you have the power to represent my voice.
May God give you the strength and give you the wisdom to make the right decision.
Sincerely, Amei Male', Maldives