Woman Locked in Bathroom 10 Years by Dad

20-year-old says she survived by listening to radio
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2012 1:48 AM CST
Updated Jan 24, 2012 1:58 AM CST
Baraa Melhem, 20, stands in a room at her mother's house in the West Bank village of Qalandia, near Ramallah, yesterday. She was locked in a bathroom by her father for 10 years.   (AP Photo/Maya Levin)
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(Newser) – A 20-year-old Palestinian woman has been freed after spending 10 years locked in bathrooms and other small rooms by her father, reports AP. There, she was beaten, fed little, and let out only at night. Her father threatened to rape, impregnate, and kill her if she tried to escape. The woman, Baraa Melhem, says she survived by listening to the radio, especially current events and programs about mental health, and dreaming of the sunshine. "Fear, fear, fear—that was the basis of my life," she said.

Melhem's father, an Arab man of Israeli citizenship, locked her in a bathroom after she ran away at the age of 10. He beat her regularly and let her out only at night so she could clean the house. "I don't hate my father. But I hate what he did to me. Why did he do it? I don't understand," she said. Melhem's father and stepmother have been arrested and were not available for comment. "I have joy now. My life has begun," said Melhem. (Read more Israel stories.)

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