Page 24 - Trapped in a Diamond

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14
Trapped in a Diamond
did, and my parents never realized the extent of the influence she had
on my life. I can say with certainty that I owe my life to these women.
As a young woman, I wanted to change the world. I didn’t believe in the
existing political and religious institutions. I believed strongly in the
equality of men and women and abhorred favoritism toward men. It was
a strongly patriarchal society, and having two brothers, I directly experi-
enced how differently the genders were treated. Even at the dinner table,
the bigger prime cuts of meat would be dished out to my father and my
brothers first. They were strong men and need more energy. My brother
was also given much more freedom. Just one year my senior, he was al-
lowed to go out with whomever he wanted and to return late at night. I,
on the other hand, was not allowed to attend parties until I was eighteen.
But again, I was rebellious and was able to escape from time to time.
When I was sixteen, I managed to go with my sister and cousin to an
adult party. There, I met the first man who would turn my head. I re-
ceived what, at the time, I interpreted as
pure love from this man who
was almost double my age. He made me feel wanted, loved, and cher-
ished. And he wanted to take me away from it all. Seeing me in his car
prompted that last and most violent beating from my father. Unfortu-
nately, the relationship was not destined to be. My parents strongly dis-
approved, as he was of the Christian Orthodox faith. We were able to
keep our relationship secret for a couple of years, but eventually he had
to return to his homeland of Greece.
I had many conflicts with my parents over our different ideas about re-
ligions and social classes. At one time, they hired a girl my age as live-in
help, and I was greatly saddened by the way they treated her. She couldn’t
eat with the rest of the family or go to a movie with me. She wasn’t even
allowed to talk to me much or to be seen with me in the street. My par-