Keys to freedom can take many forms. Samya’s was an iPod, a Twitter account, and a group of North Texas atheists.
Samya is not her real name. The young Tarrant County resident asked that a pseudonym be used in this story because she fears that the family members she left behind might track her down and try to persuade her to come home — or even kill her for dishonoring them by rejecting an arranged marriage.
Her escape began more than two years ago, several states away from Texas. Here she found intellectual and physical freedom, friends, college, and the chance to build her own life. What she left behind, the 21-year-old says, was a life of abuse and imprisonment and a future she couldn’t face.