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Fauziya Kassindja
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Do They Hear You When You Cry

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  3,065 ratings  ·  250 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
ebook, 688 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Transworld Digital (first published 1998)
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4.20  · 
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 ·  3,065 ratings  ·  250 reviews

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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
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
Nov 23, 2008 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
Jan 09, 2010 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
Marlot Bonte
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
De plaats waar de hoofdpersoon vandaan komt is in Togo, 20 km van een plaatsje in Ghana waar ik zelf ben geweest. De omgeving en de sfeer wordt zo goed omschreven in het eerste deel van het boek dat het even leek of ik weer in dat gebied rond liep. Hoe donker de nachten zijn, hoe het landschap er uit ziet, de littekens in het gezicht van de mensen als stamkenmerk, hoe de mensen hun bagage vervoeren op hun hoofd, het reizen in de trotrobusjes, de verkopers, de huizen, het eten, de snoeren van kra ...more
Dec 13, 2007 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 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
Amanda Dodge
While this book is a little outdated (published 1999) not much has changed by the way of treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. I never expected this book to be so topical, but it's all I've been thinking about with the travel ban.

Fauziya never wanted to leave her country. She had no idea what legal rights or options she had when she landed in America. To say that people land here for terrorism and to abuse the system is a ridiculous broad sweep of a tiny minority. She needed help and our sys
Fauziya is a 17 year old Togo young woman is bought up in a fairly liberal but religious family. Her life is going well, they are not poor, she is going to school and her family is a loving one. Things go pear shape when her father dies and her uncle inherits all of his brother’s assets including his family. A more traditional, and certainly spiteful, man the uncle marries her off as the fourth wife but before the marriage is consummated she will have to undergo female circumcision.
Luckily her m
Oct 18, 2011 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 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
Saskia (Smitie)
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Een aangrijpend verhaal over een jonge vrouw die moet vluchten voor een vreselijke stamtraditie en vervolgens in een wereld komt die bijna even erg is.

Wat me vooral raakte was hoe Fauziya of de andere vluchtelingen niet serieus genomen werden in Amerika. Steeds veranderde de regels of werd het ze bewust moeilijk of vernederend gemaakt. Het ergste vond ik nog de uitspraak van een rechter over de vrijheidstelling, waarbij de aanklacht was dat haar rechten in de gevangenis geschonden werd. Het antw
Jan 23, 2012 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
Sep 16, 2011 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
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
Feb 13, 2010 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
(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
Jun 09, 2015 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
Jul 29, 2012 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
Jan 24, 2009 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 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 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
Dec 20, 2011 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.
Tisha Carter
Feb 21, 2011 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.
Oct 11, 2011 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.
Feb 03, 2013 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!
Feb 24, 2016 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.
Apr 23, 2009 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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Fauziya Kassindja was born in 1977 in Kpalimé, Togo, Africa. She is the author of Do They Hear You When You Cry? an autobiographical story of her refusal to submit to kakia, the Togo ritual of female genital mutilation, and a forced marriage. Fauziya fled Togo and traveled first to Germany, where she obtained a fake passport, and then to the United States where she immediately informed immigration ...more