Fahimeh from Los Angeles:


It was about six months ago, when Mariam’s cry for help disturbed all of us. She was a girl who was a captain of our volleyball team and who always came to the rescue of anyone in need of help.  Actually, Mariam, Fariba, Shahla, Zohreh and myself were inseparable friends and had been together since elementary school. We all lived in the same neighborhood and our houses were not far apart.  Our parents were not close friends however, but we were the reason they would get together on special occasions.  They especially socialized during the New Year’s festivities and they all got together on the 13th Day of the New Year.  As a result, our friendship continued to remain strong.

As captain of our school team, once she appeared, we were all assured of our victory.  She knew how to line up the players and put them in the right place for a land slide victory over our opponents.  She always humbled after each victory and tried to praise her teammates rather than boasting about herself.  She was truly a real hero with a humane spirit and a good Samaritan who spared nothing to help other people.  For instance, once our friend, Fariba, got involved with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, she immediately rushed to her aid, benefiting from her influential uncle, and got released her from that dreadful dungeon.  When another friend, Shahla, lost the control of her car and veered of the road, unconscious with broken legs, had trouble getting admitted to the ER due to not having sufficient funds for a deposit.  At that critical moment, Mariam, borrowed money from one of her relatives and saved Shahla’s life.  When I had decided to migrate to the United States, I was wondering how to proceed with my decision.  It was Mariam who turned no stone untouched and made the necessary arrangements for my overseas trip.  She even accompanied me to Istanbul, Turkey and stayed with me until the last moment when I boarded the plane bound to America.  Once Zohreh’s fiancé had an untimely death and she went into a deep depression and even attempted suicide twice.  It was Mariam who worked at boosting her spirits and finally she helped her to go to Canada.
Fariba, Shahla, Zohreh and I all left Iran in just over the span of a year.  We in turn chose to live in separate countries and States.  But Mariam was not able to join us as she had to take care of her ailing mother.  Now with the tremendous treatment costs, Mariam was not able to cover her mother’s medical bills.  She inevitably, conceded to be engaged to a man thirty years her senior.  She called us telling that the guy did not score high in looks or fitness, but that he was rich.  She complained that he was just a male chauvinist pig.  He had forced her to always wear the black chadora and did not let her go out alone.  She continued to say that her so called husband monitored her phone calls and did not let her socialize, even with her close friends and family.  But still, she was happy because she could pay her mother’s medical bills.  She even went further to say that she was officially marrying him just to save her mother, who was battling with a deadly kind of cancer. On our part, we felt so sorry for her and every once in a while we would wire her some money.  She got so embarrassed and tried to rebuff us.  But we had promised to stay with her until the end.  Unfortunately, her mother’s treating doctors’ efforts got nowhere and Mariam’s mother succumbed to her death at a sunset during the freezing winter time. 
It grieved us to see Mariam alone without her caring mother.  So we asked her to join us as soon as possible.  But before she could take any action, she went to jail, as her fiancé had filed a suit against her.  He accused her of not paying her debts to him.  Once she consented to officially marry him, she then was released from jail.  Now her situation continued to worsen.  She always complained that her abuser, who had been already married to three other women, beat her saying that she was the most shameful creature on this earth.  He hardly ever talked to her except late at night in the bed.  Mariam complained that there were days that she went out with bruises.  Her husband ‘wanted her to be afraid of him.  It gave him power,’ Mariam said.  On one occasion she said, “he hit me, he took me by shoulders and threw me headfirst into the closet. When the neighbor called police, they were very helpful and told me how to get through it.”  She continued, “But I was afraid my husband would find out somehow and retaliate before he could be served.  It did not matter in the end, anyway, because he broke into the house again.”  Her situation really broke our hearts and we decided to somehow get her out of this hell hole. 
Zohreh volunteered to return to Iran to do something about her.  But her mission to save our supportive friend ended in failure.  Now, we have learned that Mariam was living in a dark and humid basement, with the abuser who beat on her for no apparent reason.  Three months later, we got a call from Mariam who pleaded with us to help her before she lost her life because of the brutality of her abuser.  This time, me and some other friends together, headed to Iran to save our hero.  Having arrived in Iran, we immediately hired a lawyer and provided him with huge amount of money for kickbacks.  Once Mariam was taken to forensics, everyone was deeply affected and showed sympathy to her plight.  Her entire body was overwhelmingly covered with bruises and cuts.  She had been virtually mauled by her abuser.  He was placed behind bars, and we managed to have her divorce ruling issued.  We had a lot of problems to overcome all this hell hole, but we were too determined to fear anything lying ahead us. 
We were so glad to have saved our dear friend and we immediately got the wheels rolling to Istanbul and then getting her on back to the United States with us. Now we knew she has joined us again.  We just hugged her and held her and not talked for days.  There would be plenty of time to talk later.  And so much to talk about.  Now that she is free from abuse, and happy to live in the United States and start over a new life.