Saudi teen Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun said she felt "born again" on Monday (January 14) when she arrived in Canada after being granted asylum.
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, the Saudi woman who captured the world’s attention by barricading herself in a Thai hotel room after fleeing abuse in her own country, has said she hopes to inspire other Saudi women to be “brave and free”.
Qunun, 18, grabbed international attention last week after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to resist being sent home to her family, which denies abusing her. Qunun refused to meet her father and brother, who arrived in Bangkok to try to take her back to Saudi Arabia.
The United Nations High Commission on Refugees granted her refugee status, and Canada agreed to take her in.
Qunun's case has drawn global attention to Saudi Arabia's strict social rules, including a requirement that women have the permission of a male "guardian" in order to travel, something rights groups say can trap women and girls as prisoners of abusive families.
Speaking with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Qunun hoped that her story would act as an agent of change and encourage other women in Saudi Arabia.