April 17, 2019

“Are all arranged marriages as bad as they say it is?”

“Are all arranged marriages as bad as they say it is?”

Even though it has nearly been 10 years I still remember the phone call that changed everything.

It was late probably between 2 or 3 am in the morning when I got a phone call from my aunt.  She requested me to accept her son's marriage proposal. And I thought to myself but I am only 18.... and I have my entire life ahead of me. There is absolutely no way I am going to settle down and when I do there is no chance it will be through an arranged marriage.

Why I opposed arranged marriages has a lot to do with my childhood. When I was a young girl, I struggled with boundaries, the same boundaries every Afghan girl struggles with.

You probably know what boundaries I am referring to, the ones that kill dreams the ones that take away the basic freedom of a young girl who just wants to follow her heart and be herself.

When I was young I was a very active kid, and I loved to play Fotboll. But the older I got the more boundaries were imposed on me. And soon I was not allowed to play Fotboll anymore because girls are not supposed to play fotboll.  I believe that it was during that moment my red line was crossed. So I  made myself a promise, and told myself that I may live by the boundaries set on me but I will not let it consume me.

Fast forward to that midnight phone call, I was faced into making a decision, what I then believed would mean even more boundaries and restrictions. Why did I accept her request?

Well, It was certainly was not over the phone call of course?! I asked to meet her son in a café just him and me.

When we finally met the very first thing, I did was not in asking him questions about him, I went straight forward, and said, “I want to live my life on my own terms and conditions I won't tolerate any boundaries on me, if you agree to this then consider your proposal as accepted and it not we go our separate ways”.

To my surprise he answered, “of course, why would you even tell me something like that?”.

I am happily married to the most amazing and supportive man and I couldn’t wish for anything better. It is all thanks to his support I got the motivation into becoming a political active representative for Afghans especially for Afghan Women here in Sweden.

Today I am very active in an association for Afghan women in Gutenberg which is the very first of its kind. I have managed to gradually expand the association by actively getting Afghan women into participating in different events and activities. I want Afghan women to be more included in the Swedish society and of course in Afghanistan aswell, they should be seen and heard it is very important for the future of Afghan women!

There is so much more that I am planning on doing. My next project is to start a similar association in Stockholm and in Malmo but I won't be able to do it without the help from my Afghan sisters.

Spogmai Jabarkhil, 29

founder of Afghan Womens ORG