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About seven months ago, I met a young girl through a large FaceBook community I admin.  She was an intelligent, sweet, adventurous 18 year old girl wanting to be free to live her life as she choosed and pursue a career in journalism.  However, she lives in a country under sharia law and with parents who ignored her when she told them her uncle and cousin had sexually abused her.  They have tried marrying her off multiple times - once to the cousin who molested her. She has refused again and again  Now, they are becoming more impatiant and demand she marry that same cousin who molested her as a child.  

She needs help, and my organization and I have been doing our best.  

I hope my other wonderful community of DailyKos might also help.

Here is Vi's story below the fold.

Vi's Story

I‘m having a hard time living where I live.  My plan was to be patient and wait for the right time to get out. But I can’t take all this anymore. I’m living in fear.  At the risk of my family finding out who I really am and what I believe in. I can’t hide myself forever and I’m sick of lying to everyone and pretending to be someone I’m not.

I’ve been abused emotionally and physically by my Muslim family and people in this country. They look at me in a very degrading way and treat me as an object. I’ve been molested by my cousin and my uncle at a young age and when I told my parents they didn’t believe me. They still force me to kiss them hello when they come over.

They forced me to wear the Islamic scarf when I was 9.  At 15, they tried to marry me off to the cousin that molested me..I refused and kept saying no until they backed off. And when I became 17 they wanted to give me as a gift to a 34 year old divorced guy who helped them with their financial problems. I refused again and was horrified at the idea of getting married to him.

The main problem is that a few weeks ago I was hanging out with a friend.  He gave me a drink and told me it wasn’t strong, but when I drank it, I felt like I was half dead. I couldn’t see/hear clearly.  He took advantage of the situation and when I woke up the next morning it was all a big shock to me.  I couldn’t believe that I lost my virginity and I’m still scared that I might get pregnant because of this.

My parents are still trying to marry me off, and If I keep saying no they might suspect something and send me for a check up..If they find out I’m not a virgin they WILL kill me.

I’ve been an Atheist for 2 years. Not to believe in God in an Islamic country is suicide! If anyone ever found out I’m an Atheist I’ll be killed by the law. This only applies for Arabic Muslims. If a European who was already an Atheist moved in to this country they won’t harm him. I finished high school a year ago.

I wanted to be a journalist but my parents refused to pay for my education (this is because I refused to marry the 34 y o guy) and now I’m taking some courses in Secretary and Computer (ICDL). My parents were never supportive of my dreams and ambitions. They believe a girl should only marry and raise kids . She can’t have dreams or be independent! I have so many dreams I want to achieve and I really wanna make a change but as long as I’m here things will only get worse for me. I need to get out of as fast as I can.  I need to start LIVING.

FREE VI

My first child, a daughter I will name Elena, is due in late April.  Often, I don't feel this is a good world to bring a child into, but I realized that if I want it to be I need to make it so.  I need to do something for another daughter that I would hope someone would be willing to do for my own.  My hope is just enough people feel the same way so that the world will become just beautiful and just enough to deserve the likes of Vi and Elena.

Originally posted to Captain Pants on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 02:33 PM PST.

Poll

How will I help?

0%0 votes
0%0 votes
6%1 votes
20%3 votes
6%1 votes
66%10 votes

| 15 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  tell her (0+ / 0-)

      if they truly are going to kill her, that her freedom can be measured by exactly the amount of blood she is willing to spill securing it. she should remain armed, and practice at least with a kitchen knife or a hammer in her spare time. she should strengthen herself physically and mentally for the day when she will face her family in mortal combat. or she should flee, if possible.

      The Republic has fallen.

      by Dude1701 on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 02:52:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yep - Sharia is a form of conservatism (3+ / 0-)

    all about the preserving an archaic system of religious authority.

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 02:43:02 PM PST

  •  "hanging out"? (8+ / 0-)

    "marry me off"?

    "the Islamic scarf"?

    "until they backed off"?

    "it was all a big shock to me"?

    In what Muslim country do the residents learn this brand of collquial American English?

    "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

    by NWTerriD on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 02:51:08 PM PST

    •  Have you ever communicated with people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      third Party please

      In the groups I admin there are people from all over the world digital media helps create commanalities - she has been communicating with Engilish speakers from all over the world  for years.  I have already communicated with people from 6 different places in the U.S. Today, England Scotland, South America, New Dheli and the Middle East - we understood eachother quite fine except that I refused to call soccer football.

  •  Pretend it is a scam? (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meg, high5, mollyd, shrike, NWTerriD, Dom9000

    It is looks like a duck and quacks like a duck - it is a duck.

    •  you're pretending! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      meg, Dom9000

      because this couldn't possibly be a real scam!

      (sarcasm intended)

      "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

      by shrike on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 02:55:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude

      There are over 40 people around the world working on helping her.  Some have known her for a long time.  Her story corroborates between each of us.  1,140 dollars has already been donated.  I sent $250 western Union today - if this has been an elaborate one year scam this is the point in which she can do it.  Someone else who dontated 1,000 already took that risk for you.  I am supplying copies of all documents to everyone involved so that all monies are accounted for.  I have asked her for pictures, and copies of all documents.  I have seen her visa application confirmation.  A freind invited her onto his website to track her IP address and place it where she was claiming.  

      YOu can be skeptical and have every right to be, but don't be a jerk.  This shit happens in that part of the world all the time.

      This time I can do something about it.

  •  I think you would get more positive (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meg, JDsg, NWTerriD, Dom9000, Julie Waters

    responses if you'd told us she was from Nigeria ;)>.

    Dissolve Israel; stop distinguishing between jew and non-jew in Palestine.

    by high5 on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 02:56:12 PM PST

    •  I can understand skepticism (0+ / 0-)

      but you smugness
      makes me sick

      This girl is real to me, and I am just doing all I can.  I don't need haters.  Did you read this story.

      If it is real do you think I want to see you mocking her.

      I am going to try and help her any way I can, and if you can't find the trust or the capacity to seek out more information - that is fine.

      But, if you want to insult her and me then you are a low person.

  •  I have no way to verify that this is true (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meg, JDsg, NWTerriD

    and I'm not about to donate money to a random cause just because it sounds sympathetic on the surface.

    •  Please (0+ / 0-)

      THen ask questions

        •  Media (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          claude

          I have contacted organizations in Australia, US, and UK.  They all say the same thing - We can't offer any advice or help until the girl is in the country.  She is trying to get out without her parents/father finding out - she is literally afraid of an honor killing.

          The only other option is going to the UNHCR - which continually has failed to make return contacts to myself and to others who are working on this in the UK.  I have also heard nothing but negative things about how effective they are.  THe best thing for her is to come legally on holiday- being 18 she can travel alone and then claiming her legal right to asylum.  We will offer more once she is here.  I am keeping everyone who donates up to date with every cent that is spent - even if they just donated a few dollars.  I realize this is a community that doesn't know Vi - or me much _ I've always been a reader with only a few posts.  But I though maybe there would be a few compassionate people or people who care enought to find out more.  

          All the negative and hateful comments are making me really disappointed in the DailyKos community I thought was better than that.

          •  I'm compassionate. I'm trying to find out more. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            meg, randallt, JDsg, FeDhu

            You're not providing anything to help me do that. You've provided two links. They don't work. You refuse to name a country. You haven't given one single piece of verifiable information.

            "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

            by NWTerriD on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 04:03:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Good lucks (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            meg

            All the negative and hateful comments are making me really disappointed in the DailyKos community I thought was better than that.

            Guilt trips never seem to work well here, so if you are serious about continuing this, I suggest you respect that.

            I'm wondering if trying to get a closer look through Twitter or Google might help. Maybe search the town, find a link or a friendly source here and there and then search for a Twitter account from a local. I'm just brainstorming here for you a little, probably have no idea what I'm talking about and this approach might even be dangerous so please take it with a grain of salt and caution.
            I do wish you well.

      •  I did. You didn't answer it. nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        meg

        "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

        by NWTerriD on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 03:48:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It would never have occurred to me (6+ / 0-)

    to imagine that this was a scam, until the poll suggested it.

    Okay, I went to the link, and I have some questions.

    ...a few weeks ago I was hanging out with a friend. He gave me a drink and told me it wasn’t strong, but when I drank it, I felt like I was half dead. I couldn’t see/hear clearly. He took advantage of the situation...

    This would be sadly unremarkable in America, but in a Sharia country, how is this young woman alone with a man for even a minute, let alone "hanging out" drinking alcohol with him? It is my understanding that in a Sharia country, very severe penalties can result from  a woman's just being alone with an unrelated man. The unisex custom of "hanging out" is not normal in such a place. And alcohol is illegal. Therefore this account does raise a certain doubt in my mind.

    There is also strangely inconsistent diction:

    ...I want to achieve and I really wanna make a change but as long as I’m here things will only get worse for me. I need to get out of as fast as I can. I need to start LIVING.

    This sounds like an 18-year old all right. But then she comes across as a businesslike adult:

    After a donation, You will receive an e-mail with this agreement from my personal E-mail account to serve as a record of this expectation. The primary purpose for these donations will be visa and document fees and airfare. These will lead to safety.

    At the same time, how can this work? In a Sharia country, my understanding is that a woman is not permitted to travel alone without a male escort, or at a minimum would require a letter of permission from her family. I would think money would be needed for forgeries, bribes, and all this would be quite dangerous. If she managed to get on a plane, would she enter another country on a tourist visa, and what then? I wish things were different, but THIS country almost certainly woudn't grant asylum under such conditions. Is this a realistic plan?

    And a verification by personal email being offered?  This is dangerous also. Unless she has taken advanced precautions to hide identity, it's my impression that she could be traced by her country's authorities, making things so much the worse.

    At the link there are several endorsers. All of THEM are anonymous also. Therefore all I can say is that there is not enough information to decide if the situation is as described and/or if donations will do anything to help.

    No place for "Not enough information, I'm not sure" on your poll.  

    Sorry. My heart breaks for all of the women stuck under Sharia, and the tragic situations are innumerable.

    Humanity scewed up badly back in history when men abandoned basic respect for the female principle and declared themselves, as males, to be the crown of creation. Nothing but bad fortune has followed from that delusion.

    •  as a male I say this is so good I repeat it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      randallt, third Party please

      Humanity scewed up badly back in history when men abandoned basic respect for the female principle and declared themselves, as males, to be the crown of creation. Nothing but bad fortune has followed from that delusion.

      Primitive man probably never respected women at all but the mark of civil society BEGINS with respect to all women.

      "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

      by shrike on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 03:25:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Okay. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude

      Until she is on the plane I can't divulge her country - With what is pledged from those who know her and who belong to the atheist community  - I will likely have just enough to cover the ticket.

      The country she lives in does have sharia law, but it is also a wealthy city with many people from all over the world - you should do some research. Many Major islamic cities have the class of sharia as well as the modern western world.  Do some research and actually speak with people from some of these other countries and you will see this.

      Also, teens sometimes don't tell parents accurately where they are going or what they are doing - even in an islamic country.

      The note you listed about inconsitent diction is becasue the message after the donate button is me not her - that I think is obvious. Maybe I will edit it to make it more so.

      We researched the likelihood of asylum in 5 different countries - She wanted to go to London, but We chose the US. as the asylum laws for battered women have been slightly eased due to a brief filed by Obama's DOJ Change in Asylum

  •  The Islamic scarf is called Hijab, (5+ / 0-)

    and I don't know any girls or women from Arabic countries who would not refer to it as such.  And i happen to know a fair number of Islamic girls from Arab countries.

    "The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway

    by Got a Grip on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 03:30:14 PM PST

    •  She is from an islamic country (0+ / 0-)

      A friend of mine lured her onto one of his websites to track her IP address.  He did not know Vi, so was skeptical as well - but he was part of the Atheist community so thought it was worth checking out.

      She was writing for English speakers, not for fellow muslims.  She is not islamic - she is atheist and despises that religion - she does not call any of these things by their "proper" term as she finds them all offensive.  

      Almost as offensive as being forced to marry the first cousin who molested her as a child.

  •  Tried to click on the only link in your diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meg

    Got an error message. Three times.

    "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

    by NWTerriD on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 03:50:20 PM PST

  •  I do not accuse you of being complicit at all (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meg, jrooth, NWTerriD, FeDhu

    but it is very difficult not to think this is a scam, even if you, the diarist, are among those being scammed.  Perhaps I am wrong and I don't know with absolute certainty, so I will neither discourage nor encourage anyone who wants to contribute.  However in all honesty this raises almost every red flag possible.

    •  Yes, I was wary of it being a scam. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude

       A member of Atheist  asked the same thing in the respectful way you have - Being an atheist - I completely respect your skepticism.  Here was my reply to him.

      I asked Vi to write the letter in her own words.  I have her Visa Ap picture and verification notice.  I am the one this money is going to  - I wish it wasn't, but everyone involved trusted me.  If anyone is the scammer in this situation - it would end up being me.  I don't mind being trusted with the money - but the responsibility of being the one to make sure these transactions happen in a timely manner half way across the world is exhausting.

      I mainly posted it so the people who already have pledged to donate can do it through that way instead of all separately wiring me money.  I think that will be enough to at least get her to the country.  It might be close.  Others have pledged to provide shelter - some are just giving advice, doing research, and making calls - but everyone involved currently is a member of Atheist and the SupportAtheism.com community.  I posted the story and the ability to donate so that we can honor what some members of this community are trying to do, in hopes that others might help to close the gap if the plane ticket is more than we think, and to try and shape what the atheist community can do.  We don't need church missionaries or charities to save lives and make this a better world- atheists need to continue making stands like these.

      As of now this is the plan.  She needs money for the visa application -  I am going to send the money directly to the bank where she has to pay the application fee.  I plan to send $200 which is a bit more than she needs in case of anything unforeseen and so she has money to get around town and to the airport.  Yes, if she is a scammer who has been pulling an elaborate ruse on dozens of people over the last year - she will have made off with $200.  $1050 of which has already been donated.  I asked her to send me pics of these receipts once she gets them for confirmation.  Everyone who donates will be e-mail pics and information to verify what their money is being spent on.

      The next step is that i will  purchase her ticket for pick-up at the airport, so she will receive any of - the bulk of the money.   If we did receive any extra that we have will go to Vi when she gets here - and if she gets here then I will be very certain this wasn't a scam to get us to send her money..  Legal consulting fees even for advocacy agencies can cost $60-120, the weather here will also mean she may need some clothes.  Mostly, we just need to guarantee she gets here safe.

      So yes, we could be scammed out of $200 - but I already have that $200 5 times over - someone already took that risk for both you and me.  If I don't see those receipts, I am refunding the rest of the money.

  •  fwiw, I checked out your history (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    meg, NWTerriD

    85 comments in 2 years, a handful of diaries. I saw nothing that would lead me to question your character or politics. A teacher, voted for Obama.

    One good reason to participate in the community often is to gain acceptance and connect with people here and establish, if possible, some level of credibility. Then, if one wishes to call upon the generosity of the community, one has a better chance of being perceived as legitimate.

    We have very little to go on here, and you are basically a "lurker", which is not in itself a bad  or suspect thing; that could easily be all you have time to put into DKos in a busy life.

    It is unfortunate in your case, but this is how the community dynamic works: trust based on a history of words written and connections created through that process, which is highly subjective.

    Good luck. Even if I were inclined to, I have no money left to give.

    don't always believe what you think...

    by claude on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 04:04:25 PM PST

    •  I can't disagree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude

      Since becoming an admin on Athesit, starting that non-profit SupportAtheism.com, and going to grad school I have been less active on here.  Part of that has to do with being a bit dissappointed with the healthcare bill - no public option even attempted and no real attempt at EFCA.  

      I still follow current events, but I am just going through a political burn out phase - I still have all mu congress people on the phone - I still make informed votes - I just don't read every little thing obssessively.  

      IN any event, yes I don't really have a "name" here.  I mostly just check in and always read TeacherKen's posts - he's my hero!!!

      But, I know this girl - I know the story is real, and because of that I am going to do everything I can and post this story everywhere I can, and because I know DailyKos has some great people on it -thought posting it here couldn't hurt.  

      The smartass mocking comments kind of do, and make me lose respect --- Although, your comment is NOT one of those.

      •  actually, I think you have been treated fairly by (0+ / 0-)

        most of the commenters.  You didn't get the howling mob troll-rating you to oblivion, as can happen.

        You should keep on writing, now, because you are slowly fleshing her out.  I can see her context a bit better, one of those Gulf City-States, educated urbanized girl clashing with traditional family.

        don't always believe what you think...

        by claude on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 04:18:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  EH (0+ / 0-)

          Calling a girl who has suffered this a nigerian scam - sorry maybe I am too close - but I would take the reasonable thoughtful route you did and bythesea.  You are skeptical but respectful.

          Yes, that is pretty much correct with your analysis.

          I really doubt her parents or anyone would be looking here or at atheist websites - but she is very scared and wouldn't even let me post a pic with her eyes blacked out on the atheist forums.  In her country, women are reported back to their families if they do anything to rock the boat or go to the authorities.  Whether she just has the duaghter's impression of power or she is accurate, she seems to think her father has connections.

          •  Sorry, but we aren't calling (0+ / 0-)

            the girl a scam, we are calling you a scam.

            For the record, you have3n'tgiven me the name of the Swedish advocacy agency you purportedly contacted yet, though I asked for it in an earlier comment.

            Until you do that, yeah, I'm calling you a scam.

            Dissolve Israel; stop distinguishing between jew and non-jew in Palestine.

            by high5 on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 08:31:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is the only indivdual assessing Sweden (0+ / 0-)

              Alec Axelblom Don't worry, I have emailed the Swedish embassy three times to ask for help but they seem to have something wrong with a server as after 3 days I get an automatic response saying blabla wasn't found. I know she doesn't want to go to Sweden but thought I'd email just in case if they can help with asylum to the US/UK.
              Monday at 5:19pm · LikeUnlike · .

              We are way beyond this now.

              The Atheist  thread

        •  Really (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          claude

          I sent $250 to her today via Western Union.  She is supposed to pick this up and pay the visa application fee tomorrow with a bit left over for cabs and getting around.  

          She is supposed to message us a copy of the receipts.  So in the next day or two is when I find out if this is one of the most elaborate scams ever.  The risk has already been taken by one generous man in Australia who donated most of the money.

  •  This way to the egress. (0+ / 0-)

    Muslims and tigers and bears, oh my!

    by JDsg on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 05:38:37 PM PST

  •  I hope that one day (0+ / 0-)

    He took advantage of the situation and when I woke up the next morning it was all a big shock to me.  I couldn’t believe that I lost my virginity and I’m still scared that I might get pregnant because of this.

    She will understand this as rape.

    I know "taking advantage" is a common euphemism, and I know American women who take a long time to apply that word to their experiences, but it is part of healing and part of self empowerment.

    As to the comments of the other posters: I agree that this is hard to credit without more information.  Understand, anyone can say they are anyone on the internet, and this particular story does raise certain red flags, as it seems designed to appeal to Americans' sympathies (and prejudices).  

    Even if IP address does confirm location (IP addresses can be faked), and even if you have a picture (could be anyone), it's just too little to go on for a lot of people.  I don't need to "pretend it's a scam"; I can be undecided, and that's still not enough for me to consider giving money.  I'm sorry, it's just not.

    I do believe that you are operating in good faith, and I hope your trust in Vi is well-placed.  If her story is accurate, I hope she escapes quickly.

    My comments may not be used for any purpose without explicit permission.

    by cai on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 09:29:35 PM PST

  •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

    I questioned her about it as during an asylum case they are going to focus on all these details.  She wasn't familiar with the term "date rape" at all.  She said she was too drunk to know what was going on - but felt maybe she could have fought or done something to stop it.

    I agree with you - she is watering down how horrible and despicable the situation really was.

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