Written by Dia Tuncer

Trigger warning, this poem addresses “honour” based abuse.

Honour

When I was born 

No cigars were handed out 

Your friends didn’t slap your back with pride

Instead you heard them say

“Better luck next time”

When I started walking

You threw your honour on my back

Asked me to carry it to my grave 

Cut up pieces of me and sewed it up

So the honour couldn’t escape 

Between my legs

When I was old enough for school 

And my brothers went 

You told me it wasn’t for me 

What need I of an education?

With my mind closed your honour is safer

So you covered it up for double measure

When I first bled 

You looked at me with disgust

Held me back like a leper 

So I learnt to feel shame

And concealed my pain

When my breasts grew 

And my hips widened 

You shamed me to hide them 

If they look and lear 

Keep your head down, dear 

When I married my raper 

You told me 

It must’ve been my fault 

I was lucky he still wanted to marry

Your honour on my back kept clean, 

You added his for me to carry

When I came to you 

Hurt and bruised

To seek refuge

You sent me back

To keep your honour clean

I returned 

My back heavy with the honours 

You make me carry 

When I couldn’t go on anymore

I ran away with my child in my belly

Trying to start again 

You sent them to hunt me down

To reclaim what was yours

Because your honour is stitched to me

When I died

To return your honour

I had left a mark on it

You cried 

And they patted you on the back

Told you it wasn’t your fault 

You claimed you had no daughter anymore

I could’ve told you that 17 years ago

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