â€œWhen you want to leave your problems behind, you also have to leave everything else behind.
We used to have a good life in Iran, but I had problems with my ex-husband. He was aggressive towards our son Arian. I tried to leave Teheran several times with Arian, but my ex-husband always found us. So when my brothers decided to flee, I took the chance to go with them. We left the life we knew behind to save ourselves.
The first time I took off my headscarf in public was in Turkey. It was a strange feeling and at first I was a little bit scared about my decision.
I grew up Muslim but have become critical towards Islam and our regime and often wanted to discuss this topic with other people back home. Many times, I got into trouble for not accepting Islam. I like Christianity and now that I am in Austria, I can choose what to believe and be open about it. This is why I asked my brothers to tattoo little Christian symbols onto my arm. I also decided to have a piercing. I saw a woman in Austria who has many of them and really liked it. In Iran, you are considered a prostitute when you have a piercing.
I thank God that we are in Austria now. The people here are great and I feel safe. Sometimes I think about my past and my present self and feel so grateful for being the woman I am now. I am proud of who I have become.â€