VIDEO: [ABC Australia] First-hand account of 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed’s fleeing from Saudi Arabia and eventual asylum to Canada. [Feb 4, 2019]
Creeping barefoot out of the bedroom, al-Mohaimeed gathered her family’s credit cards, keys, passports, and, crucially, their phones. This would slow them down, she thought, when they tried to follow her.
Her escape had taken a year of planning.
Standing on the road outside the hotel she panicked at the silence. It was the first time in her life she had been outside on her own.
It was also the first time since she was 10 that she had not woken up and put on a full-body covering, either a burqa or a niqab.
“I was 17 and I was so scared, so, so, scared,” she recalls. “I left at midnight, and the night was so dark. I was scared of my brother and my family.”
Until that moment, al-Mohaimeed had spent the entire 17 years of her life almost constantly in the physical presence of a male guardian, in accordance with the system enshrined in Saudi law.