Germany in the 21st century, almost 60 years after the first guest workers arrived, is a country in which hundreds of female immigrants like Bahar live in hiding from their families. They have left everything behind: their home, their friends and their relatives. They refuse to abandon hope and allow themselves to be broken by the incompatibility of their own wishes with the expectations of their family and social environment. They don't want to conform to the traditional values of the regions where their families come from. Instead, they want to live like women in Western societies: free, independent and emancipated.
Every year Papatya, a Berlin aid organization, takes in 60 girls and young women who have run away from their families because of cultural conflict, and who had faced the prospect of abduction, forced marriage or even death. The Rose Shelter in Stuttgart receives 80 applications a year from women who have suffered in these ways. The youth help organization Yasemin documents about 400 consultation visits, while the website Sibel receives more than 300 calls for help each year. The organization Peri e.V. claims to have helped about 50 girls and women run away from their families since 2008.
The list of the female immigrants' countries of origin is long. It includes Turkey, Kosovo, Albania, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and India. A few months ago, a man from Sri Lanka poured boiling water over his daughter in a town in Germany. She had refused to accept a forced marriage.