Saudi women rebel runners against the system of male control

Another Saudi woman turned to social media for protection against her father, just days after Canada had resorted to Rahaf Mohammed, the 18-year-old who fled her family.

Identified as Nojoud al-Mandeel, she took this week to Twitter to accuse her father of physical violence and claims that she had fled her home by jumping from her bedroom window to a neighbor's swimming pool.

A video posted by Ms. Al-Mandeel, reportedly filmed from her window before she escaped her, shows the risk taken by making such a leap.

Escape: Nojoud al-Mandeel placed this video from the pool of her neighbors on Twitter and claimed she had jumped into it to escape her abusive father. The text in Arabic reads: & # 39; I do not want to go back home, so there will not be a violation of privacy & # 39;

Mrs. Al-Mandeel seems to have turned to social media this Monday when she set up a Twitter account. She has not revealed her face, nor her exact residence in Saudi Arabia, and has only done her supplication on Twitter in Arabic.

She placed an audio clip in which she claims that her father had her & beaten & burned & # 39; about something trivial.

& # 39; Do not tell me to report it to the police, & # 39; she said. She explained that in an earlier attempt the police had just had her father take an oath stating that he would not beat her again.

After her story gained some traction online, she was asked in Saudi Arabia for a hotline for victims of domestic violence. Prosecutors also reportedly began investigating her allegations of abuse, according to Saudi news sites.

She was placed in a shelter for domestic violence, but Tuesday complained about Twitter about the restrictions of the asylum on her movements.

Although their circumstances are different, the allegations of abuse by Ms al-Mandeel and Ms Mohammed resemble those of other Saudi refugees who used social media to publicize their escapes.

Rahaf Mohammed, 18, who quit her last name al-Qunun, speaks Tuesday at a press conference in Toronto, Ontario after being granted asylum in Canada

Rahaf Mohammed, 18, who quit her last name al-Qunun, speaks Tuesday at a press conference in Toronto, Ontario after being granted asylum in Canada

Rahaf Mohammed, 18, who quit her last name al-Qunun, speaks Tuesday at a press conference in Toronto, Ontario after being granted asylum in Canada

New life: the knee-length dress that the teenager wore during the press conference this week is far from the over-wear outfits that women in Saudi Arabia have to wear

New life: the knee-length dress that the teenager wore during the press conference this week is far from the over-wear outfits that women in Saudi Arabia have to wear

New life: the knee-length dress that the teenager wore during the press conference this week is far from the over-wear outfits that women in Saudi Arabia have to wear

Before: The teenager, pictured with her 12-year-old sister, said that it had upset her that her family had announced that she had rejected her, simply because I wanted to escape their abuse & # 39;

Before: The teenager, pictured with her 12-year-old sister, said that it had upset her that her family had announced that she had rejected her, simply because I wanted to escape their abuse & # 39;

Before: The teenager, pictured with her 12-year-old sister, said that it had upset her that her family had announced that she had rejected her, simply because I wanted to escape their abuse & # 39;

It has been speculated that Muhammad's successful escape will inspire others to copy it, but strong deterrents will be maintained.

When they are caught, runaways are confronted with possible death by family members to shame the family.

Saudi women fleeing their families are challenging a system that provides men with guardianship over women's lives. This guardianship system starts at home, where women have to obey fathers, husbands and brothers. Outside the house it is applied to citizens, often referred to as sons and daughters by Saudi rulers who demand obedience.

Hala Aldosari, a Saudi scholar and activist, said that the male guardianship system is a replica of the governing model of the ruling family, which demands complete obedience to the king, who has the absolute power in decision-making.

& # 39; That is why the state would like to retain the authority of male citizens over women to ensure their loyalty, & # 39; she said, adding that this & # 39; hierarchical system of domination & # 39; keeping women in shape & # 39; necessary.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who introduced social reforms that relaxed women's restrictions, told The Atlantic that the abolition of child custody laws must be done in a way that does not harm families and culture. He said that abolishing these laws would cause problems for families who do not want to give their daughters freedom.

The 18-year-old was detained in Thailand after her arrival in the country. She is depicted as having barricaded herself in an airport hotel room to prevent her being deported

The 18-year-old was detained in Thailand after her arrival in the country. She is depicted as having barricaded herself in an airport hotel room to prevent her being deported

The 18-year-old was detained in Thailand after her arrival in the country. She is depicted as having barricaded herself in an airport hotel room to prevent her being deported

Ms. Mohammed, accompanied by the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, on the right, and Saba Abbas, general adviser of the COSTI refugee service office, departed, arriving Saturday in Toronto, Ontario

Ms. Mohammed, accompanied by the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, on the right, and Saba Abbas, general adviser of the COSTI refugee service office, departed, arriving Saturday in Toronto, Ontario

Ms. Mohammed, accompanied by the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, on the right, and Saba Abbas, general adviser of the COSTI refugee service office, departed, arriving Saturday in Toronto, Ontario

New style: Mohammed has started to adapt to life in Canada after she has been granted asylum, with a picture where she sees her all bundled up in a winter coat and a wool hat

New style: Mohammed has started to adapt to life in Canada after she has been granted asylum, with a picture where she sees her all bundled up in a winter coat and a wool hat

New style: Mohammed has started to adapt to life in Canada after she has been granted asylum, with a picture where she sees her all bundled up in a winter coat and a wool hat

The question of guardianship is extremely sensitive in the kingdom, where conservative families see what they regard as the protection of women as a duty of a man.

More than a dozen women's rights activists have been detained, many since May after campaigning against the guardianship system. Some also wanted to create alternative accommodation for female refugees.

Regardless of their age, women in Saudi Arabia must have the permission of a male relative to obtain a passport, travel or marry. In the past, a travel permit was a paper document from the Ministry of the Interior and signed by a male family member.

Nowadays, Saudi men download a mobile government application that informs them of traveling a woman. Through the app, men can give a woman permission or refuse to travel. Some young women who fled the country had access to their father's phone, were able to change the setting and disable the notifications.

In a statement to reporters in Canada on Tuesday, Al-Qunun said that she wants to be independent, wants to travel and wants to make her own decisions.

I am one of the lucky ones, she said. I know that there are unhappy women who disappeared after they tried to escape or who could not change their reality. & # 39;

This is especially true for women from conservative tribal families, such as al-Qunun & # 39; s.

Mohammed, one of the ten children, has posted online that her father, Mohammed Mutliq al-Qunun, is the governor of the city of al-Sulaimi in the hilly hinterland of Ha'il – a province where almost all women face black cover veils and wear loose black robes, or abayas, in public.

The family belongs to the influential Shammar tribe, which extends to Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Middle East. Her father has considerable influence as a prominent city official and a member of a powerful tribe.

Ms. Mohammed, who renounced her surname Al-Qunun after her family rejected her, barricaded herself last week in an airport hotel room in Thailand to prevent deportation.

She said she was being abused by a brother and locked up in her room for months because she had cut her hair short. She said she would have been killed if she had been sent back to her family.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said that the abolition of child custody laws would create problems for families who do not want to give their daughters freedom

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said that the abolition of child custody laws would create problems for families who do not want to give their daughters freedom

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said that the abolition of child custody laws would create problems for families who do not want to give their daughters freedom

Different life: women wait in line to ride carts during a road safety event for female drivers being launched at Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia

Different life: women wait in line to ride carts during a road safety event for female drivers being launched at Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia

Different life: women wait in line to ride carts during a road safety event for female drivers being launched at Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia

According to government statistics, at least 577 Saudi women attempted to flee their homes in 2015, although the actual number is likely to be higher. There are no statistics about attempted or successful escapes abroad.

Shahad al-Mohaimeed, 19, who fled two years ago from Saudi Arabia and the ultraconservative family, said that fear is a powerful deterrent.

"When a Saudi girl decides to flee, it means she has decided to risk her life and take a very risky step," said al-Mohaimeed, who now lives in Sweden.

Mrs Muhammad's plight on social media attracted international attention, which allowed her to shorten the typically complex road to asylum. A little over a week after fleeing from Saudi Arabia, she was in Canada, she built a new life, placed photos of wine, bacon and pulled a dress over her knees.

Al-Mohaimeed said that Twitter is where Saudi women can share stories and be heard. She and two other Saudi women took over the Al-Qunun Twitter account and made reports on her behalf during the week of her requests to prevent deportation.

I am not born in this world to serve a man, al-Mohaimeed said. I was born in this world to fulfill my dreams, to realize my dreams, to grow, to learn and to be independent – to taste life while I hold it in my hands. & # 39;

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