Behind the Headlines

Meet The Young Woman Who Escaped An Arranged Marriage

Few immigrants to the United States endure what this visually impaired young woman has overcome. A refugee from West Africa, she arrived in New York as a member of a U.N. delegation and was granted asylum to escape her abusive fiancé, whom she was arranged to marry.

Lifted by her passion for biology, which she's studying in college, and her powerful faith in Islam, she ultimately hopes to rebuild her life here in the United States as a practicing psychiatrist. Resiliently optimistic, she has hope for disabled peoples' greater opportunities for independence and educational support in America, and demonstrates how her love of reading braille helps soothe the isolation and loneliness of starting over in an unfamiliar country.

Watch the video above (in which she chooses to remain anonymous as a further protection against her fiancé) for more about her story.

About Behind the Headlines

Refinery29’s original series “Behind the Headlines” takes an in-depth, human look at the policy debates dominating the global news media, from American immigration reform to the continuing struggles of Syrian refugees and Afghanistan’s lingering gender inequality crisis. Bypassing the pundits, we’re dedicated to spotlighting the stories of the people whose lives have been profoundly impacted by these issues, and believe that their voices must be heard.

Released on November 3, 2016