For 20-year old Baraa Melhem from Israel life was all about simple pleasures. Imprisoned in a series of dark rooms by her father at the age of 10, beaten and only let out at night to do house-work, Baraa lived in the darkness for almost 10 years. How she survived is a tale of wonder, no less.
Baraa’s parents divorced when she was 4 and she ran away from home in a bathroom at the age of 10. Once the police brought her back to her father, he made sure she was locked up. For good. For over 10 years Baraa was imprisoned in her house while her step-mother and father went about their business.
Baraa revealed details of how she dealt with her imprisonment by dreaming about sunshine again and listening to the radio. Baraa also revealed how she was given only very little food, a razor blade, a blanket and a radio. Periodically, her father and step mother would encourage her to kill herself.
Rescued at age 20, Baraa is enjoying her new found freedom. 'I have joy now. My life has begun,' she said. Rescued by Palestinian security forces in the West Bank town of Qalqiliya last week, Baraa was in ‘deplorable condition’ according to the police spokesperson. Her father, Hassan Melhem and step-mother were turned over to the Israeli authorities and are now jailed.
Baraa says she doesn’t hate her father, but would like to know why he treated her like that. '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. Now safe, Baraa Melhem is now living with her mother.