‘Dishonoured’ is a moving story about a young woman’s fight for freedom.
Sofia Hayat’s autobiography offers hope to anyone growing up in oppression. It shows how it is possible for someone to fight for their dreams. This storyline is relevant to anyone trying to achieve the goals they set for themselves. But Sofia’s life has been more difficult than most of us can imagine.
She grew up in a strict Muslim family who allowed her very little freedom. Her domineering father never gave her the chance to be herself. Whenever she rebelled against her parents, the consequences were severe.
Most of the childhood memories in this autobiography depict her father’s violence and anger and her mother’s lack of love.
She tries to find ways of coping as a young, impressionable child. She withdraws into herself, self harms and even tries to kill herself.
Yet she perseveres with her dream of becoming an actor, despite her difficult childhood and her family’s disapproval.
In the book, she quotes her father, ‘Music and acting is a form of prostitution, Sofia.’
She refused to choose between performing and her family. Her mother’s response was to tell her that she was dead to her.
This story exposes oppression of women and what behaviour can be justified to uphold family honour. It also details an individual’s struggle to be happy within herself.
What makes Sofia’s story even more shocking is that her mother sends a hit man after her. She believes Sofia has dishonoured the family and must be killed.
Sofia writes throughout the book about how the Muslim faith never condones harming or oppressing women in this way. But this idea of honour is deeply ingrained in her family and many others. It is the reason Sofia’s mother never left her father, despite his cheating and violence.
This book is informative as it depicts one person’s experience of honour killing, kidnap and the oppression of women. It is also deeply heartfelt and moving. Even when describing her amazing achievements and belief in herself, readers can see how Sofia still craves love and parental approval.
A few of the chapters towards the end of the book centre on who she’s met and where she’s been. At first this may seem boastful, but Sofia’s genuine awe at what she has been able to achieve is evident in her writing.
The autobiographical style allows the author to explain what she’s really feeling and thinking. At the start of the book a lonely and unloved child watches trains go past her garden. She wishes she could just jump on them and go anywhere apart from where she is. As the story progresses, a confident young woman finds confidence within herself.
This is an enjoyable read, not least because of the author herself. Sofia is a talent, driven woman whose kind and loving nature show in her actions.
In writing her story, Sofia hopes to help others who suffered as she did as a child.