When I was 7 years old, my father took me away from my mother without her consent and sent me to live with my grandmother in a village 100 km away -- a decision that was completely legal under Islamic Law.
Because of another antiquated law my mother was not even able to gain visitation rights, and that was the moment that everything changed.
“Oh shit, it’s a checkpoint,” he said, inclining his head toward some traffic cops in brown uniforms. I rummaged through my purse, realizing that I’d left my passport in the hotel for safekeeping. As he resumed his narration, I recalled something he had told me earlier.
Yasser looked behind him to see if he could reverse the car, but had no choice except to proceed. “It’s a lot easier to be gay than straight here,” he had said.
Men and women have also posted messages of support.
More than 2,800 people have signed an online petition at authorities to lift the ban on women driving.
My mother’s fight to regain custody of me ignited in her a desire to fight for the rights of others around the country, and since then she has spent her life speaking out and calling for reform in Saudi Arabia.
Yasser gestured to a parking lot across from the shopping center, explaining that after midnight it would be “full of men picking up men.” These days, he said, “you see gay people everywhere.” Yasser turned onto a side street, then braked suddenly. He wasn’t worried about the gay-themed nature of his tour—he didn’t want to be caught alone with a woman.
Dozens of women have driven and posted during the latest campaign, one activist said, although she knew of only two who hit the streets on Saturday and Sunday as the campaign peaked.
"A day hasn't gone by without receiving one or two videos" of women driving, said the activist.
Women have previously been arrested, cars have been confiscated, and one received 100 lashes, she alleged. She added that, apart from driving, the campaign is also about "creating a storm" over the issue.
On Thursday the interior ministry issued a warning to would-be female drivers and their supporters.