Plymouth, MI—Imprisoned in an abusive marriage, how can a woman whose culture emphasizes female submission escape the clutches of her husband? After being forced to depend on this kind of violent and untrustworthy man, can she learn to be independent? In the wake of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, what does it take to recover, heal, and gain stability? How does the love of a mother for her children keep her going in even the darkest moments? Mia Odeh shares her journey to answer these questions in her revealing new memoir, Mia's Odyssey: Taking Back My Soul.
Written with Mike Ball, Mia Odeh revisits her life story, beginning in Palestine at age sixteen, where she was forced into an arranged marriage. After being brought to the United States, Mia realizes that her marriage is not only unwanted, it is unsafe, as she experiences routine sexual and physical assault. Mia's Odyssey shines an unflinching light on the horrors of domestic abuse and reveals how a survivor with enough determination can find the resources to forge a path to freedom.
"You know, sometimes you have to get a little distance from something before you can really see it," says Mia. "From the time I was sixteen years my husband surrounded me like a putrid fog, permeating every minute of every day and completely blocking the sun from entering my life. When my husband left us behind in Arizona and moved to Michigan for work I began to see him as he really was, nothing more than a small, evil, isolated creature. I made it my goal to keep my children pure, to keep them from ever becoming like their father"
"One night, I told my husband that something he had said was unfair. As soon as the words left my mouth I knew I'd made a mistake," recalls Mia. "This made him believe I was becoming independent, like American women, and he made plans to send me and the children back overseas. Suddenly, I knew that I could not take my children back to that place, where all my choices would be gone. All of their choices would be gone. That place where my daughters would grow up to become slaves to their husbands. That place where my boys would be taught to believe that they deserved to have wives who were nothing more than slaves. I knew that, for the first time in my life, I had to fight back"