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

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  2,345 Ratings  ·  221 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
Published April 2nd 1998 by Bantam (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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It is insane, the fuss we make about our hesitancies to address these kinds of issues, because heavens forbid we talk about womanly parts and the types of torture these parts sometimes have to endure; it’s akin to speaking about the cringe-worthy subject of sexual assault. Let’s avoid talking about a procedure that poses serious medical risk and causes psychological trauma to women and girls, because it is not polite conversation and it spoils our morning tea, or because it is only a “cultural t ...more
Nov 23, 2008 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  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
The US is known as the country of immigrants, but it also has one of the most horrific records of integrating them into mainstream society. This is a story of the 1990s but according to all news reports and statistics, things have not much changed in the USA.

To start at the beginning, Fauziya Kassindja started life in Togo in a very patriarchal but loving family (they exist) and was brought up to value education. Her father was against FGM but at the same time, he did not empower his daughters
Jan 09, 2010 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Winter Sophia Rose
Fascinating, Educational, Intense, Heartbreaking, Enlightening & Horrifying! A Beautifully Rewarding & Moving Read! I Loved It!
Here is Fauziya telling her life's story. It's compelling. I applaud her courage in several avenues. First and especially, in the continued need she consistently exhibits to demand that female mutilation becomes unacceptable and worthy of the condemnation that it so deserves. Especially in Africa and the Middle East, and within worldwide medical associations. It's a cause of misery and terrible outcomes, life-long, for a woman's health and natural barriers against infection. Besides the brutalit ...more
Jul 12, 2014 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Katie by: Becky
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
Dec 07, 2008 taaza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 18, 2011 Patti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 17, 2012 Ruby rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jul 10, 2015 Jenni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I wish I could give it 10 stars, but I'm really at a loss as to how to review this book, especially as there are so many other reviews published here that offer the praise it deserves. What I will say is this is perhaps one of the best books I have EVER read, a powerful and stunning memoir that left me thinking of so much: about FGM and how very little it is discussed; about cultural traditions and how powerless we are to stop them even if modern opinions deem them to be barbaric or torturous; a ...more
Mar 03, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jen & Tiffany
Recommended to Susan by: I read about in on
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
Jan 23, 2012 S'hi rated it really liked it  ·  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
Feb 25, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
(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
Jul 29, 2012 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 24, 2016 Weradi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is about a young woman's escape from Togo where she was to undergo female genital mutilation (FMG), her incarceration in the U.S., the process taken to assist her, and eventual recognition that FMG be made illegal. A great memoir and example of the world's continued horrific treatment of women.
Feb 20, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 15, 2008 Julie Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 07, 2010 Janaya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 28, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book reminded me of the other one I read some years ago called infidel. this one was the same issues about fgm(female genital mutilation) but with the added component of starting in prison as a criminal while waiting for asylum. thank God she didn't suffer fgm but came very close to as her aunt had married her to a man with already three wives. I keep thinking of the stupidity of this tradition and how can Muslim men enjoy decent sex with women without a clitoris. where did they ever get th ...more
Jan 14, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tisha Carter
Feb 28, 2011 Tisha Carter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 22, 2012 Chelsea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jen Lahmayer
Not super exciting but this book was extremely educational when it comes to female genital mutilation and the plight so many women today still face. It also highlights the constipation of our immigration system. It took so long for fauzia to be where she is now. THank goodness she found someone to help her.

I randomly spotted this book on the shelf I my community college days. For some reason, I picked it up. And I am glad I did. I have a huge place in my heart for the women who go through this
Feb 01, 2016 Kelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read!! Hard to believe this is a true story.
Jan 07, 2015 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are many aspects about this book that make it compelling. One of my favorite lines from the book is "It's always darkest before dawn." In a nutshell, this is the memoir of a woman who fled Togo after being married off against her will and would have been forced to have Female Genital Circumcision, or FGH.

At times it's frustrating because I want to reach out and help her or tell her the right thing to do. At other times it's inspiring to see her strength. As a society we too often take thi
Feb 03, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Oct 11, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 23, 2009 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
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.
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