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"In January 1982, when I was sixteen years old, I was arrested in Tehran, Iran. My crime was having been a student activist and a vocal critic of the newly formed Islamic Republic. After my arrest, I was interrogated and tortured. My interrogators, grown men, tied me, a 48-kilogram girl, to a bare wooden bed and lashed the soles of my feet with a length of industrial cable, about an inch tick and made of heavy rubber. With every strike of the lash, it felt like my nervous system would explode. I began to count the strikes, but I soon forgot how to count. Being a Catholic, I began to say the Hail Mary, but I could not string the words together. I drowned in pain. I was given a death sentence, which was later reduced to life in prison. One of my interrogators forced me to become his wife under the threat that if I didn’t, my family would be harmed. I spent 2 years, 2 months, and 12 days in Evin prison and was released after my “husband” was assassinated by a rival fraction of the government. When I went home, I just wanted to put the past behind me and be normal."

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