Rahaf Mohammed has published a new book detailing how she escaped from an abusive home in Saudi Arabia. The 21-year-old hopes that her book inspires other women to leave their own abusive situations and change women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.

“I hope my story encourages [other women] to be brave and find freedom,” she writes in ‘Rebel: My Escape from Saudi Arabia to Freedom.’ “But I also hope it prompts a change to the laws in Saudi, and that rather than being one girl’s story of escape, this book becomes a change agent at home.”

The book talks about her escape from an abusive home in 2019 and how, with the help of social media, she gained access to a new life in Canada.

The Harvard Book Store called Mohammed’s memoir, “A gripping memoir of bravery and sacrifice by a young woman whose escape from her abusive family and an oppressive culture in Saudi Arabia captivated the world.”

Rahaf Mohammed escaped
Rahaf Mohammed wrote a new book detailing how she escaped from her abusive home in Saudi Arabia. The 21-year-old hopes her story inspires others. (Credit: Amazon)

In her book, Rahaf Mohammed explains what growing up in Saudi Arabia was like and how she became aware from an early age the restrictions that her culture put on her as a young woman. While the 21-year-old came from a wealthy family – her father was a politician who worked closely with the royal family – having money didn’t give her a lot of liberties.

She wrote, “There are no balconies on our house — a good woman would never sit outside where someone can see her. And our windows are closed in case a man might see a woman inside the house. A woman — that is, anyone over the age of 9 — can’t leave home to visit the neighbors or go to the bazaar, even if only to buy lingerie or makeup, or go out for a walk without a husband, brother or son present to monitor her.”

By the age of 9, Mohammed was wearing a large black outfit to obscure her body and at the age of 12 she was wearing a niqab to hide her face. Rahaf Mohammed was told that she needed to hide her body so that she wouldn’t arouse men’s sexual urges.

She writes in her memoir about the clothes that she was forced to wear. “I was a young girl when I began to wonder if this was a form of punishment. If a man can’t control himself, why must a woman hide herself behind robes as though it is her fault? And if women do have to be covered, why is it that men who are not in jeans and Western dress wear white robes that deflect the blazing heat, but the women must wear black that absorbs it?” said Mohammed.

Rahaf Mohammed escaped
Rahaf Mohammed escaped back in 2019 and used the power of social media to gain support and asylum in Canada. (Credit: Twitter)

While her father was working, Rahaf Mohammed was reportedly controlled by her two brothers, Mutlaq and Majed. The brothers constantly monitored her phone and checked who she was communicating with. One time, when the young girl refused, her brother allegedly broke through her door with a meat cleaver and called her a prostitute.

She says another time, when she walked home from school alone, her brothers hit her and gave her a black eye. Rahaf Mohammed’s mother reportedlyl abused the young girl when she found out that her daughter was bisexual.

In 2019, Rahaf Mohammed finally found a way to escape. While on a family vacation in Kuwait City, she was able to gain access to her passport and secretly catch a flight to Bangkok, Thailand. The then 18-year-old had saved up over $2,700 and hoped to reach Australia and ask for asylum.

When she landed, she was grabbed by members of the Saudi embassy who were going to send her back to her father. They put her in a hotel room and Mohammed knew that if she made it back to her family, they would kill her. The young girl barricaded the room, refused to eat and drink, and took to Twitter to share her story and ask for help.

“Please help me,” Rahaf tweeted in a panic. “They will kill me [if I go back].”

Through Twitter, the 18-year-old gained over 45,000 followers and was able to get help from the United Nations Commissioner of Refugees. Canada granted her asylum, and she was able to fly to Toronto a week later.

Since her escape, Rahaf Mohammed has tried to contact her mother and sisters, but they refuse to talk to her. The young woman said that she is happy that she was able to escape and follow her dreams.

She said, “My journey has been rocky, but it has allowed me to grow and learn and fulfill my dreams. I have goals to graduate from university and dreams to become an actor and plans to help refugee women settle. That’s what I want to achieve. I have what it takes to make a good life.”