Abused Woman Seeks Asylum in Canada

Posted on February 8, 2019 by

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Women in Saudi Arabia are constantly being physically and mentally abused. Recently, an eighteen-year-old named Rahaf  Mohammed Mutlaq al-Qunun made that known. On 5 January 2019, she demanded asylum in Thailand in order to get away from her family’s abuse.

While Rahaf was travelling with her family in Kuwait, she found it was the perfect opportunity to run away. She fled to Thailand where security took her passport and detained her in the airport’s hotel. Rahaf barricaded herself in the hotel room and demanded to see the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Rahaf went to Twitter and tweeted, “I ask the government of Thailand to stop my deportation to Kuwait and to start my asylum process.”

She also stated, “I will for sure be imprisoned and killed if sent back home.” Saudi Arabia is known for ‘honor killings,’ which are killings of a woman who dishonored her family.

The United Nations quickly intervened to help Rahaf. They started by giving her a safe place to stay in Bangkok, Thailand, to await asylum proceedings. Later, on January 11, 2019, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made the statement that, “[They] are happy to welcome Rahaf.” She accepted and sought asylum there.

Saudi Arabia has always been an ‘ultraconservative’ government, meaning women have no rights to do things such as drive, compete, or even wear makeup. Rahaf, being the daughter of a Saudi Arabian governor, had to follow these principles. Rahaf admitted that she was locked in her room for six months because her hair was cut the wrong way.

Rahaf’s story is very similar to a woman named Laura, who also fled to Canada to get away from her cruel Saudi Arabian family in 2013. Laura, whose last name is not mentioned due to safety concerns, was a prisoner in her home for more than a year. Laura’s father would lock her in her room and hold her at gunpoint on many occasions. She planned her escape for three years and, once she convinced her family she had an educational trip, she left for good.

Thankfully, countries like Canada restore humanity by saving these young girls’ lives. Many other women go through this abuse, and some are able to escape and encourage others to do the same. Saudi Arabia claims they are changing their government and how women are treated, but only time will tell.