‘I’m dying slowly’: An Iranian teen says she has to travel from country to country or be sent back to her abusive father

  • Samar, a 19-year-old from Iran, travels from country to country to avoid being deported back to her abusive father in Iran.
  • For the past two years, she has shuttled between Turkey, Armenia, and Ecuador, three of the few countries Iranians can visit without a visa.
  • Samar says her mother and stepfather have tried to bring her to them in California, but President Donald Trump’s travel ban bars Iranian nationals from coming to the US.
  • Life with her father in Iran was so unbearable, Samar said, that she attempted suicide. “I cut my wrists and he just stood there laughing,” she said.
  • The pandemic and border closings have made it even harder for Samar to get to the US. “Even if there was a way for her to come before, everything has become much more difficult now,” an Amnesty International representative said.

Samar longs to be like other girls. But her life has been turned upside down by politics and a pandemic.

For the past two years, she has bounced from country to country alone to avoid deportation back to her homeland of Iran.

She searches for rooms in places where she doesn’t speak the language. She lugs bags of groceries for blocks because she cannot drive.

She only travels with what fits inside her small suitcase.

Samar has done all of this at a time when most girls are enjoying their last days of high school.

She’s 19, bright, and articulate. But she’s never had a boyfriend or even a close group of friends.

When she was little, she’d write “peace contracts” for them to sign, pledging not to fight again. They’d always sign them, but a few hours later the arguing would start again.

She knew her father kept a pistol in the house, but she’d never seen him take it down from its place on the bookshelf. One day, during one of her parents’ many arguments, he grabbed the gun and threatened both Samar and her mother.

“What I remember most was the sound,” Samar said. “My mum kept covering my eyes and my head was in her chest.”

When her mother said she was going to call Samar’s grandfather, Samar recalled, her father threatened “to shoot him through the window.’”

Read the article by Cristina Maza in Business Insider Australia.