Stories of Girls’ Resistance

Little fires everywhere:

When her existence sparks her resistance

Little fires everywhere:

When her existence sparks her resistance

Across the stories, we see myriad examples of resistance born as an act of defiance and survival. It is in this very first moment of push back that resistance can be understood as a human instinct and a biological imperative. To be a girl is to resist.

Some of the realities that have increased my motivation are girls who are raped, circumcised, 9, 10, 11, 12 year old girls who are married. Girls who are beaten at home, girls who have such heartbreaking stories that when you listen, you just want to help them, to give your body and soul so that they find their freedom.


It’s just like, if I die, I die. I don’t want to die, but it’s like, if you’re really going to kill me because I exist, fundamentally that means my existence bothers you so much that you had to go do something about it. You know? And I think that’s a respect on me. You think about me, you dream about me, you can’t sleep because I exist and it’s just like, okay like, I’m going to keep existing. What you gonna do? You gonna fight me? You could, but don’t do that. You know? Like, what you going to do? Deal with it.

United States of America

I was thinking while we were talking about the point at which my public resistance started. And I would have to say that the experience of having my children in Barbados was a big part of it. I went through this phase and realised that if you wanted to have a private gynaecologist at that time, it’s changed somewhat now, you had to have a male gynaecologist. And you had to have a male gynaecologist who, while his fingers were inserted in your vagina to do an examination, felt like he had the right to tell you how sweet and tight you were. We’re talking about here at the top of 2000. We ain’t talking about too far back. And I got really incensed and really frustrated. …and so I was very uncomfortable and coming on to some of the experiences that I had with the male gynaecologist that he left in the chair is where my public advocacy started. Because I started to write complaints and make complaints. And being covered down, like how I used to be covered down in my family. That just like messed up head. I was like, no, no, no, we’re not going to do that two times in a lifetime.


In the family, I was rebellious. When I was 18 years old, they wanted to circumcise my little sister. I ran away with her. I didn’t want her to be cut. In the end, my sister was not cut.


You talk about being doubly oppressed, right? You have all of these things working against you. You’re a woman, you’re queer, you’re black, you’re indigenous. All of these things just kind of come against you, so definitely a lot of resistance I have is tethered with my identity and me just trying to exist.


For me resistance is when I do not suppress my emotions. If I do not like something, I speak up. If someone oversteps the limits, I speak up. There are different types of resistance. To tell the truth, I think that the fact that we keep living is already resistance. For me resistance is to unite with people who feel the same as me, and do something together.


I was 10 or 12 years old. I can’t really remember, but I can remember the first day that I was sexually harassed, and men just laughed and thought it was funny. And I felt like, this is not right. I felt like this is not right. It was a public street and I was walking with my friends back home, there were three people driving a motorcycle and a guy in the middle was a boy probably my age decided to grope me from my butt. And they were just laughing, and they didn’t even stop. And they were just really laughing, and I just couldn’t understand why that happened. And why the other men standing in the street didn’t do anything about it. And why my friend was saying that I should probably get a new outfit for school. But I felt like this has to change. This has to change. And I didn’t even know that there was something called blaming the victim, or stuff like that.


At first whatever form of resistance I exercised was spontaneous and was I think imposed on me. In a good sense, not in a bad sense. Because as I tell you, it’s not that I started doing things because I wanted to. It’s because I found myself in front of a tank, it’s because I found myself with three siblings and social norms that don’t support women and girls. It is because I’ve been fighting since I was fifteen to earn my living and go to university, helping my sister do her homework and then waking up at 5am in the morning so I could make sandwiches for the kids to go to school. I was a mother, I was a father, I was everything in between. And I think that transformed me. I cannot tell you that I remember how this transitioned, I just can tell you that it’s continued to grow with me, it became both my characteristics as an individual and I started to define myself by the form of resistance that I could carry with me. Then when it became part of who I am – an indispensable part – it’s something that I cannot compromise now.

Occupied Palestine