Silence is Golden but Not in this World

My entire life I have been silent and the reward I got is a condition called bipolar and personality disorder. After many years of treatment and near death experiences, I decided not to suppress my feelings anymore and speak out. So that’s what I did when a stranger man told me I needed to wear less clothes in a pool on holiday with my children.

If this incident took place before I decided to speak out through my book, then like most people, I would possibly have done nothing at all and lived with the humiliation letting those responsible get away with it. I chose not to do this; I chose to speak out about it because I have found my courage. However since the article in the Daily Mirror I have been subjected to many death threats and racist attacks. I wasn’t silent because I was wrong; I was just gathering myself in my mind for this moment so that I can suffer in silence no longer.

As a human being and far more importantly a woman, a mother, I condemn what happened on the 21st July 2017 when a Portuguese man approached me and my family members insisting that I leave the pool as I was not wearing appropriate swimwear for the resident who complained. My sister-in-law was teaching my kids how to swim as they cannot swim and I was playing with the younger ones- hardly a breach of any culture. The manner in which we were approached, individually being singled out and told to stand up and show what we were wearing and have to defend our ‘culture’ as this man kept referring to, was humiliating to say the least. He based his assumptions of religion and ‘culture’ purely on the colour of my skin. When we insisted that we were wearing appropriate clothing that is only to be used in the pool. We were told we could only wear shorts or bikinis. When did it become appropriate, socially acceptable or just for a man to stand above you in the presence of your family and small children and tell you that you were wearing too many clothes? When?

The most intimidating part was when my nine-year old daughter was asked to stand up in the pool to show what she was wearing before I was asked to do the same for the inspection of our swimwear. Why was it okay for her to have to be asked to do that and parade herself in the name of making an example of what ‘Portuguese culture’ is about? She was wearing a swimming costume, where I was wearing swimming leggings and a swimming top. He then said “you are not allowed to wear this. You have to wear a bikini” to which I was outraged and in response said “this is so rude, how can you tell a woman whether she needs to wear a bikini to be in the pool or not, where is it stated among rules that are posted on this wall?” He continued by saying “Only you have a problem because this is your culture” to which we probed “what culture are you referring to, I’m from Britain and was raised there my whole life”. It wasn’t about culture or religion, it’s a confidence thing and how we do not feel comfortable wearing a bikini; I know many women will share my thoughts on that. I just happen to be Muslim as well and practise my faith as it feels right to me. His references to culture and borderline racism were what angered us the most. Why does the colour of my skin and my reluctance to show more flesh makes me belong to any religion or none at all? And even if it were religious beliefs why is it acceptable to be spoken to like that. I didn’t have an issue with anyone else using the pool, men, women, covered and uncovered, then why were we being treated that way? Why was that okay? I don’t understand what wearing a bikini has to do with Portuguese culture. Bikinis are worn around the world for swimming and at beaches, by people who are happy to do so and great on them but since when did it become a nation’s culture?

Surely, every country has rules and regulations; every place has a culture. If one breaks the ‘rules’ knowingly or unknowingly, it would not be out-of-place to correct the person in a respectable manner. I feel that all people deserve respect, not the least whilst on a hard-earned holiday with children.

As regards people’s negative comments on this matter, I wouldn’t blame them because our state of mind differs. We are all different and yet the same.

With reference to a post by a woman on my social media, I have to say that as a fellow woman, I am astounded that we are unable to understand each other. The burkini she made reference to is not an unhygienic piece of clothing. It is designed solely for swimming. What makes one more hygienic over the other? It saddens me that as someone from Albufeira itself, you don’t see the importance for tourism that you so readily told me that I shouldn’t go there.

For those who accused me of staging this up for the sake of free holiday compensation, if that was the case I wouldn’t have protected the identity of the complex and the company we used for the booking of our holidays. Furthermore I had been repeatedly asked to sell my story to several other Medias but I chose to ignore them and despite my efforts they still went ahead without my consent and published my articles around the world. In some articles I also read things that I found were fabricated. This issue is not about money and never was. I have not received any compensation nor made any claim against our treatment. I simply have raised awareness of the treatment that I consider as unacceptable.

I refer to the quote from Eliderico Viegas, president of the Algarve Hotel Association in which he states;

“The British are repeat offenders in presenting complaints to obtain compensation” (source:

He goes on to say;
“The logical thing would have been to have made a formal complaint and want to name the place where this happened”

Given that Eliderico does not have any details of where the incident occurred or any other detail how could he possibly speculate that this was done in order to obtain compensation? Where is his/her proof of this claim and considering this issue has nothing to do with food poisoning how could he/she generalise the ‘British’ in such a manner as to accuse all British tourists of seeking compensation? Is this reflective of a person who is not stereotyping a person based on their country of origin? How many cases of compensation are there in comparison to those British tourists that don’t claim compensation to warrant such a statement? Not all British tourists act the same on holiday and not all compensation seekers have to be British. We have not in any way done this to gain compensation; the matter is not about the money. I hope that is clear.

As someone speaking on behalf of the Algarve Hotel Association and claiming that we didn’t file a police complaint or a complaint to them so therefore the events that happened to us do no exist or are ‘exaggerated’ is ludicrous. Firstly, although the bad treatment of our family of 10 (adults and a baby as young as 8 months), the man in question to our knowledge did not break any laws that we would have sought to make a police complaint. So going to the police wouldn’t have occurred to us to be quite frank. We didn’t complain to the Hotel Association as we did not stay in a hotel, so out goes that argument. What we did do was the ‘logical thing’ and report to the person that we had booked the apartment from. We informed the manager of our apartment of our incident and he arrived to our apartment within hours and was understanding of our situation and even offered to go to the pool with us the next day and speak to anyone of the apartment management for us. He handled the situation so well that we really felt humbled that someone was understanding and made us be sure in our minds that this is not the real ‘Portuguese culture’ that we told by the poolside. We chose not to use the pool again because of the humiliation we faced and didn’t want to put the children through more of this sadness- a holiday they were looking forward to for months, purely just on playing in the swimming pool for.

The apartment manager has spoken to me in support of this issue since it has been raised in the press and has given me his support. He has also sent me photo evidence of other pool users as of just Tuesday 1st August that are using the pool in shorts and a t-shirt! How biased is that! When we were using the pool with our children in swim appropriate clothing we were told we couldn’t and had to stop and here a man of a different ‘culture’ was not stopped from using the pool whilst in a casual t-shirt. Why the difference and why did that resident not complain?

I am deeply let down by the media and how images of me and my family have been taken from my social media pages. I’d like to ask what relevance these pictures have to my story. Why this invasion of my family is okay to parade them all in a bad light? I am a mental health sufferer and it has taken a long time to come to terms with and to understand and comprehend. I found my voice through my book on mental health issues and spoke up about it and have used this as a way to help people accept it too. The way I have been portrayed in the media as a liar and an acquisitive person has left me shattered. I am not that person and never have been. I spoke out about this because having found my voice ,I didn’t want to be silenced; living my life regretting that I didn’t speak up about the rights of women and how we can be treated so inferior at times. I have really struggled with all the negativity and death threats, all because I spoke out about a horrible situation that happened to my family. As anyone suffering from mental health will know it can be so hard to speak up when the easiest thing is to let those horrible words eat you up inside instead.

With all honesty, I would like everyone to know that the Portuguese culture is rich. They have loving and caring people. We had no other issue with the accommodation; both the complex and our apartment were beautiful. I would react the same way if this happened to me in any part of the world; the question of the matter is the way I was treated and spoken to; that is unfair and condemnable.

Now here’s a light poem from Maryya Dean in the wake up to the Portuguese experience –

Believe - A Poem by Maryya Dean

Alternatively you can play & listen to the song below –

The Issue in the News

13 thoughts on “Silence is Golden but Not in this World

  1. I feel proud,reading this. A true and strong willed women. It’s a nasty world out there and we need more women like maryya to stand up for the right of women hood. Reading this really show’s how small peoples minds really are and when there is an issue in religion or skin colour or culture difference people really show their true colours. To me we are all the same brown, black or white makes no difference what makes a difference is the Human in us and it’s shows that Portuguese people really show no sign of being human they all just follower of a small minded man who made this nasty issue with what to wear in a pool (disgusting) and I’m proud I’m not a Portuguese.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Finally a women and that to with positive comments about me, I am standing up in front of the nation to not only protect human rights but a woman’s rights and what I am facing are death threats by mainly women, but I sincerely thank you for your support I am lost for words, thank you 🙏🏻 Please carry on blessing me 🙏🏻


  2. Yes, maryyadean is 100% right, our choice of clothing is a personal decision! And no one dictate for someone! There is no place that I have seen that one must wear bikini to a beach! If you feel it’s decent by you then fine. But if you know it’s not right then stick to what you feel is right. And that is absolutely what marryadean did.

    All should bear witness with this passionate woman of dignity! Maryyadean and her children has done nothing wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was saddened to read of your treatment at the pool and the comments posted on the tabloid news papers. It looks like an attempt to fuel the anti-Muslim fanatics who are looking for an excuse to stir the pot. There is reason they call them tabloids. Your treatment was uncalled for no matter what country you are in. You are a natural citizen of the UK following your religious commitments and belief and wearing a burkinis or Burka does not violate any civil laws or constitutions that I know of. It is a personal choice and does not mean you have not assimilated into the culture you live in. It sounds like someone trying to use this as an example and it does not fit and those who read those types of news papers accept it in ignorance. We should stand united as men and women against radical Muslims (ISIS) and not against women and not against Muslim women. Marryya you have nothing to feel bad about and knowing a little bit about what you have endured so far in your life, you are to be commended for your handling of this. You have presented the facts of both sides on your blog and even linked to the newspaper articles in a fair and open forum. You are 100% right. Your privacy was even invaded taking photos from your Facebook page. I am almost 100% sure the man who started this and verbally assaulted you and your child will never understand the truth and how wrong he is. I am 110% sure that tabloids such as those who participated in this incident are motivated by money and not the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s all about the respect that a woman deserves. Definitely we should abide to the rules and accept the culture of a particular Country we live in, there is no doubt about it. But think of a person who is suffering from the most deadly mental issues of our time, the Bipolar disorder! Imagine a person with the history of suicidal tendencies and for God sake! Come out in the wide and think of the state of mind that person must have been, when that person was humiliated in front of the world, with everyone watching! Even the children who didn’t know what was going on ? And how they could react?
    We talk of women right and equality, and caring for mentally challenged people! And when the time comes to stand for a woman or stand for a cause, all that is done is, it is made a cultural and a national issue and hide the real thing.
    Some accused Maryya for staging this up for the sake of a free holiday compensation, that this was all about the money, if that was the case then, she would have excepted the tons of cash offering that was made to her for the interview by different sources as she stated. Maybe the vacation was the part of the therapy, or a holiday planned a long time ago for the kids. Anyways, a paid vacation turned out to be a paid tension! I think, we should also consider this fact, and I wonder if there is any compensation for that?
    I also came across this comments which talked about her body, and some were so absurd I can’t even write about. Ok it is fine to be the part of a discussion or an argument, there were a lots of misunderstandings that can be justified. But there were certain individuals who were only interested in some other things rather the actual matter. And these particular individuals didn’t even have a face on their social media account and sense in their head. So much disrespect for a woman, only because she decided to talk about her right!
    I totally understand the hygiene part! Which was related to what she wore, and apart from that it was totally ok if they were ignorant about burkinis which are specially designed swimwear to cover the body. My cousin has a very sensitive skin, so she wears it in the pool all the time. Even movie stars like Lindsey Lohan wears it, it doesn’t belong to any religion or a country. Some have body issue I know, I was a fitness trainer and how much of that effects an individual, is anybody’s guess. That doesn’t mean they should shut themselves inside the house thus the burkinis. But if they thought burkinis was inappropriate, just because of mire ignorance it can be understood. So it has nothing to do with rules and culture. If people from India can understand this, so could the World. It is funny to every thing of it of being a reason for a woman to be treated like that, even as she tried to put her point she was suppressed by the loud voice. On the contrary Maryya was attacked by racist comments by a single person and he was supported by everyone around. A judgment was made! And even without understanding anything she was humiliated in front of her kids! I don’t think it’s the part of any culture.
    The Portuguese culture is a rich culture and the people are very understanding, my mother is a Portuguese and I know what I am talking about. Sometimes due to the language barrier there are confusions, and I totally think it could the case, but I strongly stick to one thing, the way she was treated and it was one person, not a country. It was shameful and inhuman to know that even after so much of effort! Racism and inequality amongst gender still prevails!
    It shows by the pictures of the other guests who had the royal privilege to enter the pool in a casual attire!, lol! And I thought the world progressed. But during these recent days! It made me think that I still live in an ancient world, with a medieval mindset. Where we easily jump to a conclusion without even reading the whole thing. Only if it see a Muslim man or a woman, whether Brit or not! A judgement is passed and we are at war. Just because a single person thinks in a certain way, does not mean the whole country should think the same. Just because one Portuguese, one Muslim, one Hindu or one Jew does something unethical the whole race should not suffer. There are black sheeps everywhere, if we look closer.
    If a person like Maryya, living in the most modern and safest part of the world can feel like this ,I wonder how the women around the world should be thinking right now?
    So it’s my humble request to all my brothers and sisters all around the the world to forget hate, and stand not only for Maryya, but all the women of the world.
    We talk about the creator as our Father because he created the world, so let’s respect our women, who is the mother to us all!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a dignified response to an undignified situation. As a woman it disgusts and terrifies me that we live in a world where men feel they can demand women take off their clothes. My anger and disgusts extends from the man who thought he could dictate to you how you can dress to the media and the ignorant fools who sent you death threats and nasty messages. What a nasty world we live in. Keep your head held high, and be proud of yourself for responding to this situation with honour and dignity.


    1. Oh Lisa how do I thank you for your very beautifully articulated words, I’ve been in such a bad place since this incident and struggling daily to find a way to escape from the dark side, so I had to take to the pen and express myself and break my silence as the himuliation had got to much. I wish the world would understand the power of women, as we go through so many transitions in our lives, this finger pointing is not just to a women but to a wife sister, daughter and most importly a mother that brings life on earth. It sickens me that these very people who are brought to this earth by a women has the odasity to bring down another. So thank you for being a women and most importantly standing united to fight for women’s rights 🙏🏻


  6. Women’s rights are the significant human rights which includes the right to live free from discrimination.

    I don’t understand what was so wrong about the choice of clothing worn by Maryya and family. Why so much fuss? Most shops selling swimwear will undoubtably have a variety of clothing suitable for all – and these will range from bikinis to more covered clothing. If it is appropriate to be sold then it is most defiantly appropriate to be worn. So why was it deemed so wrong? Where in the world does it say you must only enter the pool wearing a bikini? Why was humiliation the price Maryya had to pay for respecting her pride and dignity? Why are people so narrow-minded?

    Maryya’s choice of clothing may not necessarily be about race, culture or belief. It may be a simple case of what a woman feels most comfortable in. Not all women like to show flesh and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Narrow minded people leaving negative comments and assumptions not only need to open their eyes but their minds too.

    Maryya, there are a lot of women out there who share your thoughts and views. Don’t let narrow/minded people get you down.


  7. Considering what you been through, the thought of you going through that humiliation I can’t even begin to imagine what must of been going through your head. What ever it was you have held it together and dealt with it the most diginified way. This argument was not about race, religion,or culture. It is purely about being a human being. And above all a woman. The person that spoke to Maryya and her family was the only one in question not Portugal. We allways assume that, few minority’s views represents the whole race religion or culture. sometimes it’s been fabiricated in some way for certain individuals benifits. The bottom line is, it is WRONG AND INHUME for a woman or any human to go through that sort of treatment in this day and age and in this part of the world. Well done Maryya. you carry on with you head held high.


  8. As far as I know. (maybe I’m wrong), in Portugal there are no legal norms that oblige people to dress in a certain way. Religion no longer has the power to define the “modus vivendus” of our day. This is a SECULAR country.
    There are no standards, can’t there be, for people to dress in a certain way. On the contrary, “yes” (you can not walk naked anywhere). It is nonetheless ironic to question a person who walks “very dressed” and do nothing against those who walk naked showing the genitals in the middle of the street. And So, no one says anything? (Maybe because of the color of the genitals or burkini)
    what is “against” Portuguese law is the discrimination of the grounds of race, origin, gender, color of the skin, sexual preference, and especially creed.
    This type of behaviour is, fortunately, only a minority, because the Portuguese common remains a traditionally tolerant person and allowed the Portuguese people, through history, to maintain very good relations with all the peoples where it passed, and even Today it remains so. It will not be half a dozen people who are going to change this. ( we hope)


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