When I first met her and had a conversation, I quickly realized that Sheena was a young woman brimming with enthusiasm and harboring ambitious dreams for her future. She stood out as a passionate law student who had paved her way to becoming the first successful female lawyer in her family. Respected by her teachers, she was known for her patience, calm demeanor, and exceptional critical thinking skills.
Her discussions often revolved around the gender-based injustices that plague our society, particularly concerning issues like inheritance rights and the freedom to choose one’s life partner. She wasn’t just vocal about condemning these injustices; she also took time to appreciate the positive aspects of our society. As I spoke with her, I couldn’t help but see her as the epitome of perfection, not just due to her external attributes but also due to her compassionate heart that radiated inner beauty.
A day after returning home from a job interview, I received news of her untimely demise. At first, I couldn’t believe it and momentarily forgot who she was. However, as I received numerous messages from friends, it became clear that she had fallen victim to a tragic fate, allegedly at the hands of her own family.
My mind could only contemplate how if that candle of hers had been allowed to burn longer, it might have illuminated the darkness that often engulfs our society.
The circumstances surrounding her murder remain shrouded in uncertainty, but there has been an unsettling wave of negative chatter about her. This brings to mind the failure of our family systems to safeguard their honor autonomously, without allowing others to define the worth of their daughters.
Our society grapples with a paradox: while it attempts to conceal the mistakes of its girls in order to protect family honor, this endeavor consistently backfires, leading to even more shame and censure from society.
We often hear stories of girls pursuing education, and attending colleges, and workplaces, yet they lament the absence of trust from their families. Although our society embraces the values of other cultures when it comes to educating girls, there is a reluctance to place complete trust in them. Girls are capable of making history, preserving family values, and serving as inspirations to others, but our society is reluctant to acknowledge this truth.
It’s true that both girls and boys make mistakes, but we seldom hear of a girl killing her brother, cousin, or father to protect honor. Instead, we repeatedly encounter instances of girls being subjected to honor-based violence. This double standard in our society has become a rallying cry for change and justice.
Countless young girls with dreams as their companions have been buried and subjected to brutality for their perceived mistakes. I believe that excessive restrictions in this digital era provoke individuals to rebel against such constraints. Instances where girls and boys are trusted and supported by their families to pursue their aspirations are less likely to stray from their family values compared to those who are stifled by stringent regulations.
The motives behind her tragic demise remain unclear, yet she continues to be a topic of discussion within families since her passing. Even those who didn’t know her have opinions to share about her life. Only those close to her truly understood her reality. Nevertheless, her departed soul will forever mourn the unfulfilled dreams in her eyes, the future she envisioned, and the aspirations left incomplete.
As with many cases, justice may lean towards those who wield power and wealth, seeking to close the chapter swiftly. Influential figures in her family and society may exhaust all resources to deter police intervention at her home. Her soul, if given a voice, might echo, “If my sacrifice failed to safeguard your honor, it implies that if I had a duty to protect your honor, you had an obligation to protect mine as well.”