Prisoners of Bodies, not Prisoners of Ideas

Prisoners of Bodies, not Prisoners of Ideas


Fatima M.
Former Female Prisoner

I was not the only one who was subjected to divorce and family breakdown just because I spent sometimes in prison in a case of fraud for which I was the victim. I found myself in isolation and loneliness occupied with concerns about my children and how their fate will be in my absence. How I will spend these difficult days behind closed walls where the space narrows and time stretches as if it were endless. At the beginning of my detention, I was crying all the time, as it never occurred to me that I would be a prisoner, be divorced and my children feel ashamed of their relation to me. My soul collapsed and I felt lost, especially when the old female inmates bullied me into washing their clothes, forcing me to arrange their beds and covers. I remembered those TV movies that were telling stories about the reality of female prisoners and thought it was only in the world of acting until I saw it by my own eyes and experienced it by myself.

I was wondering would I spend the rest of my life like this, allow the emptiness to ravage me with memories of the past, and feel a sense of despair about the present and the future?

Soon the relief came with a new prison administration. It allowed some activities and sports. How astonished I was to know that the sewing, handicraft factory and the educational classes have been existed for years, but they were controlled the personalities who manage the prison.

I felt that the rehabilitation facility earned its name as the activities have changed the mood of female prisoners, including the bully ones, because their engagement with these activities made them calmer and in tune with the rest of the prisoners.

These activities opened a window of hope for me that when I got out of prison, I would not be the one who did not have any profession, but rather I would acquire a profession that would help me restore my previous life or start a new life. It is well known in our country that female prisoners are rejected by society after their release and are always pursued by suspicious looks wherever they go.
The days were not as heavy and bleak as they used to be; the morning became beautiful waiting my sewing class to start with great passion. I also taught some female inmates the basics of reading and writing. By so, these small details have entered my life with joy and a sense of achievement.
After that, we raised our slogan then, “We are prisoners of bodies ... not prisoners of ideas”. Our minds became open and our ideas touched the horizons of creativity. Our days were colored in prison despite the ordeal we are living in.
We remained in this situation for nearly a year. Then, the prison administration changed and we returned to the first episode. The void episode that preys on us with all its disadvantages, so the door to activities was closed again and the problems of bullying in the prison returned not only to weak female prisoners, but also to some security cadres who did not receive training enough qualified them to work in this facility.

Meanwhile, a release ruling was issued for me, so I left prison feeling very happy for my freedom and innocence from the accusation. That feeling of joy mixed with a feeling of sadness for the rest of the female prisoners whose days and years of life would be lost in a prison surrounded by emptiness and darkness..