Do They Hear You When You Cry
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Do They Hear You When You Cry

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,700 ratings  ·  181 reviews
Like the bestsellers Princess and Not Without My Daughter, Do They Hear You When You Cry? tells the dramatic, compulsively readable story of a woman fighting to free herself from the injustices of her culture. Fauziya Kassindja's harrowing story begins in Togo, Africa, where she enjoyed a sheltered childhood, shielded by her progressive father from the tribal practice of p...more
Paperback, 684 pages
Published March 4th 1999 by Bantam (first published 1998)
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Amanda
Nov 23, 2008 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: human rights kids, women's rights kids
Shelves: read-in-2008
This is one of those stories which, if it were fiction, it would be totally unbelievable. It's the story of a young Togolese woman who flees Togo to escape an arranged marriage and genital mutilation, only to get trapped in the immigration system upon arriving in the US.

As I was reading this book, I would have given it four stars- the writing could have been more concise and there were some stylistic things that I didn't like. But by the end, I was so heartbroken and angry for Fauziya that to r...more
Dana
Fauziya Kassindja grew up in Togo, Africa in a privileged setting. Her father did not believe in the tribal practices of polygamy and Female Genital Mutilation (FMG). Fauziya's father died suddenly and she was pulled out of school and put into an arranged marriage as a fourth wife and then told to prepare herself for FMG.

Kassindja's sister went against her own husband to save her sister and help her to escape the country. But escape to what?

Kassindja ended up going the the US and applying for as...more
Katie
This book made me really interested in the process of claiming asylum. I've never thought much about asylum, but reading a personal account of someone suffering through the process really made me more interested in learning more about those seeking asylum. i went through a phase of reading a lot of books written by and about people in prison, all of which have been depressing to read, but her story added a whole new dimension. she had to suffer all of horrible things that happen in prison withou...more
taaza
I was really blown away by this book - in fact, I think it is one of the best, if not the best - that I have read yet this year. An African girl of 17 years of age tries to get political asylum to escape "kakia" or FGM as she flees Togo by way of Germany and then the U.S. This was a painful but incredible description of her ordeal in prison and finally the legal difficulties endured as her legal team worked day and night trying to get asylum granted. Fascinating and absorbing, a must-read for wo...more
Patti
It took me a while to get throught his book. Fauziya is very detailed about her journey, not leaving out details about her traumatic experience, even giving detailed background stories about her legal representation.

One of the most striking things about this book is that Fauziya is about the same age as me, so I kept thinking about what I was doing when she was going through everything. On the Travel Channel, you can watch shows about being "Locked up Abroad" which show the horrible conditions i...more
Ruby
Jan 17, 2012 Ruby rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Absolutely everyone
This book should absolutely be required reading in the western world. Absolutely appalling that immigrants are treated as criminals (and worse because under US law they officially have no rights). This is a devestating story, and I'm glad that Kassindja had the strength to tell it. I want to buy several copies of this book and hand them out to people.


One of the most striking statistics in the book was how 50% of illegal immigrants that come to the US are from caucasian countries (such as Poland...more
Susan
Mar 03, 2010 Susan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jen & Tiffany
Recommended to Susan by: I read about in on Amazon.com
This is the true story of an African girl, Fauziya Kassindja, who sought asylum in America to escape FGM (female genital mutilation) and an arranged marriage to a man 30 years her senior. Her family were devout Muslims, but her parents were more traditional and opposed FGM. Because her father was well-to-do he was able to protect Fauziya and her sisters from this practice. When her father died, Fauziya, who was only 17, was put on an airplane and sent to Germany to escape. She had only a suitcas...more
S'hi
Jan 23, 2012 S'hi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Human Rights Lawyers, Community Workers, Refugee Workers
A harrowing story of one young girl’s journey into womanhood, which reflects the tragedy in the lives of many girls throughout Africa. Covering the unusual freedoms of a family background which allowed her four older sisters to marry men of their own choosing, Fauziya explains how everything went wrong for her when her beloved father died while she was away at boarding school in Ghana as a 16 year old student. Although this is one woman’s story, right from the beginning the backdrop of others’ l...more
Carol
This book is the story of Fauziya Kassindja, a woman from Togo who fled to the United States to seek asylum.
The first part of the book describes Fauziya's life in Togo as part of a large loving devoutly Muslim family. She is especially attached to her Dad. Her parents are both forward thinkers and did not choose to have any of their five daughters face kakia or female genital mutilation. They also permitted their daughters to choose their own husbands and marry for love. In Togo marriages are...more
J
(FROM JACKET)For Fauziya Kassindja, an idyllic childhood in Togo, West Africa, sheltered from the tribal practices of polygamy and genital mutilation, ended with her beloved father's sudden death. Forced into an arranged marriage at age seventeen, Fauziya was told to prepare for "kakia", the ritual also known as female genital mutilation. It is a ritual no woman can refuse. But Fauziya dared to try.

This is her story-told in her own words-of fleeing Africa just hours before the ritual "kakia" was...more
Jan
An excellent, thought-provoking read - the story of Fauziya Kassindja and her flee from Togo to escape forced polygamous marriage and female genital mutilation. She was the first case of Layli Miller Bashir, who founded the Tahirih Justice Center for immigrant women fleeing gender-related violence. Heartened by the goodwill and love shown by complete strangers to this young refugee, and immensely saddened by the heartlessness and even cruelty of the system and some of those who work within it, I...more
Sarah
I started out this book wondering how they were going to fill 500 pages with this young woman's story. But, she writes going back through her childhood, explaining her country (Togo), customs, culture, and faith. It's a very important piece to understanding her story, as well as how it impacts her process of seeking asylum in the US. This is a good glimpse into the asylum process in the US and how it has developed; all told through her story. I was quite surprised to find out that it wasn't unti...more
Julie Suzanne
Fauziya courageously escapes the horrible fate that awaits her--a prison constructed by culture and tradition. She hopefully seeks political asylum in the U.S., and her nightmare actually begins as she's bound in a prison of steel, brutality, and bureaucracy. I read this candid autobiographical story in one night, and I'm not a speed reader! It's suspenseful, depressing, and thought-provoking. Fauziya has a lot to show us about culture, human rights, the nonsensical & hypocritical politics...more
Janaya
It's about a young 18 year old who suffers in her effort to escape female genital mutilation, tribal law, and then the horrible American justice system (whose policies regarding "illegal" immigrants are so ambiguous and in need of revision that it's ridiculous). Not only is this story about great adversity, and the strength of hope, it's about incredible, unbreakable faith and the love of God.
I loved it! It's long, but I read it in less than a week. It's a novel that makes you want to go back an...more
Tisha Carter
I thought that this book was wondrful! Poor Fauziya, she thought that escaping her country and tribal laws and tradition to come to America, land of the free would be safer for her only to find out that it's not what it seems. But at the end she learns that her personal experience is not what the real America is all about and that there is good people in this country who were willing to sacrafice for her true freedom.
Chelsea
I read this book several years ago and was reminded of it when I read "Little Bee" by Chris Cleave. It is the amazing and sad story of the first woman to seek political asylum in the USA to avoid female circumcision in her native land o Togo. It will make you sad, angry at the system, and have you rejoicing in the power and courage of the human spirit by the end. A powerful read for anyone.
Amanda
As I was reading Fauziya's account of her desperate fight for freedom, I kept wondering how different our country's or the world's response might be if millions of young boys were forcibly castrated as part of their tribal and cultural rituals. Would the world look blindly upon them and dismiss their cries as it does to powerless girls and women? Doubtful!
Jennifer
This is an amazing story of a young woman is is thrust into the U.S. immigration system. She comes from Africa in hopes of beig granted asylum without knowing that she will have to overcome mutiple obstacles before she can win her case. This book is the reason I realized I was interested in knowing more about immigration & asylum law. & it is a quick read.
Terry
Just finished the excellent "The Visitor" (definitely an Oscar-worthy performance by Richard Jenkins. I may or may not have fallen a wee bit in love.), which reminded me of this excellent--though upsetting and enraging--book. Worth a read, certainly. I can only hope the changing of administrations in Washington will make these stories... stop.
Sherry
This is a good read based on the true story of the first woman to be granted political asylum based on female genital mutilation. The law student who represented Fauziya has since started a legal organization in DC (expanding to other cities) that represents female immigrants on a range of issues.
*•.♥.•*Sabrina Rutter*•.♥.•*
Fauziya lived a sheltered life in Togo, West Africa until her father suddenly died. At 17 she was to be forced into an arranged marriage and undergo femal genital mutilation.
This is her story of how she escaped Africa and her fight to remain in the safety of America. A very good book.
Christina
This book was amazing, heart breaking and informative. A real eye opener
Taskina
I have strong interest in African history and culture and that's why kept this one in my reading list. Finally bought the book from Dasa book store in Bangkok.

This is an amazing book, I enjoyed reading this book thoroughly from beginning till end and it was hard to believe that it was a real story and not a fiction. This one is a must read who wants to know amount Female Genital Mutilation and how women are becoming victim of this.

Fauziya is a bright child from a progressive family in Togo, Fa...more
Caroline Alicia
Jan 21, 2011 Caroline Alicia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people curious about INS
For some reason,Fauziya's story wasn't resonating with me once she got to America. Hate to sound like coldblooded scumbag. I just found myself frustrated with her. She call yell at her distant cousin and lawyers over the phone, but she finally gets her hearing and she acts like she's a deaf mute or something? I can totally see her POV but I can understand why her story sounded incredulous as well. I think the major thing that bothered me is how Ok some people are with being ignorant on the facts...more
Evelyn
An incredible story of courage. Fauziya, fifth daughter of a wealthy and influential family in Togo found her life changed after the death of her father. Kakia (female genital mutilation) is practiced in Togo but her older sisters had been protected from it because of her father. When he died, she lost her protection and the authority in the family when to his sister who had never approved of Fauziya's mother. The aunt sent Fauziya's mother away and arranged a marriage for Fauziya to an older ma...more
Victoria Law
This is a first-hand account of what happens inside the women's section of an immigrant detention center (or the sections of a state prison or local jail that receive money from the INS to cage immigrants). The account is clearly written and the descriptions are horrifying. Either Kassindja or the person who helped her write the book also included facts and stats that put some of these horrifying realities into the context of racism (e.g. Kassindja had assumed that, because all of the immigrants...more
Vera
Dieses ist so ein wertvolles und wichtiges Buch. Wem die Menschenrechte bereits am Herzen liegen, der wird sich durch dieses Buch bestärkt und motiviert fühlen. Und wem die Menschen- (und Frauen- !) rechte noch nicht am Herzen liegen, bei dem könnte das sich durch dieses Buch ändern.
Mich persönlich haben die Schilderungen der Verhältnisse in den US-amerikanischen Gefängnissen und Haftanstalten damals (damals? Ich kann schwer beurteilen, inwiefern es heute anders ist) besonders bewegt, denn darüb...more
Cassandra
Dec 06, 2007 Cassandra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody who loves a good ending
I bought this book from Luga Airport in Malta on my European trip because it was one of the cheapest on the shelf,I needed something to fill my time and stick to my budget! I opened the book to find one of the most amazing stories I've ever read. The courage of this girl from the small African nation of Togo is truly inspiring and makes you value your own fortunate life.
Fleeing from female genital mutliation and an arranged marriage to a man twice her age and with three wives already living with...more
Kerry
I first learned about and researched FGM about 5-6 years ago, and this book brought me back to the anger, frustration and horror I felt when I learned about this practice and the fact that it continues to be done to thousands of girls and women today. Fauziya, a 17-year-old girl living in Togo, West Africa, has a happy and carefree life with her large family, led by her liberal and loving father. However, when the family patriarch dies, Fauziya's world is turned upside down. Her aunt forces her...more
Violet Crush
I picked this book up because it was about an African girl and honestly I did not expect much from it, mostly because I had never heard of this book before. I ended up loving this book. It's about a young girl who runs from her home and ends up in America as an illegal immigrant. The story follows her struggle to stay in a foreign country and make them understand the difficulties and the dangers she would face if she is sent home. She also spends some time in the refuge prison.

Turns out this was...more
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