Born in the mid-1960s to an impoverished family in a deeply religious village in Uzbekistan, Bibish was named “Hadjarbibi” in honor of her grandfather’s hadj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. But the holy name did not protect her from being gang-raped at the age of eight and left for dead in the desert. Bibish’s tenacity helped her survive, but in the coming years, that same tough-spiritedness caused her to be beaten, victimized, and ostracized from her family and community. Despite the seeming hopelessness of being a woman in such a cruelly patriarchal society, Bibish secretly cultivated her own dreams— of becoming a dancer.
Years later she ended up in Russia. All this coincided with the collapse of the empire, and all of it ran over Bibish like a steamroller. But Bibish was not broken. To find the strength to put it down in words, courageously written in the first person, was a next step into a more normal life.
Bibish was a street vendor in a province of Moscow when she wrote her memoir. She now lives with her two sons and husband in the city of Vladimir in central Russia, where she is an instructor of Eastern dance at her own "Studio Bibish."

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