After heated arguments with male family members back home, five Saudi Arabian women living in the United States recently replaced their student visas with victim visas. Women and children may be eligible for the visa if they’ve been the victim of a crime, such as sexual harassment, rape, human trafficking, torture or abduction, according to The News Tribe.
When these women are granted a changed status, their newfound feeling of safety comes at a price. They are no longer eligible to receive economic support from Washington D.C.’s Saudi Cultural Bureau. While the embassy and SCB try their best to fix family and spousal issues peacefully, these efforts often go unresolved and the victim visa serves as a last resort, the source reported.
“Many of the girls argue that they do not feel safe going back to their husbands or to their families in Saudi Arabia, so they opt for giving up their student visas and the financial assistance provided by the Saudi government and apply for the victim visa which allows them to stay in the U.S. and receive assistance,” an unnamed source told the source.
Women come to the United States from Saudi Arabia to study in American universities. As this decision is controversial in the home country, many feel their safety will be compromised if they return home. To protect these women, the United States government allows them to remain in the U.S. and often provides assistance in looking for a job, academic scholarship and money for food and shelter.
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