96% of runaway girls are Saudis

MAKKAH: A recent survey conducted in the Makkah region found that 96.3 percent of girls who ran away from their families are Saudis, while 3.7 percent are non-Saudi. The study showed 51.9 percent are female university students, 36.4 percent high school students, and 11.7 percent middle school students.

The study showed 54 percent of runaway girls are between the ages of 17 and 21 years; 24.6 percent between the ages of 22 to 26; 15 percent under 16; and 5 percent older than 27 years.
The study, conducted by academics from the University of Umm Al-Qura, showed that 86.1 percent of runaway young women who are not married; 10.2 percent are married; 0.5 percent are widows.
Of the unmarried young women, 81.3 percent live with their parents; 8.6 percent live with their mothers; 2.1 percent live with relatives; and 1.6 percent live with their fathers.
The study showed 45.5 percent live in families of between seven and nine members; 34.8 percent live in families of between four and six people; 13.9 percent live in families with 10 members or more; 3.7 percent live in families consisting of three members or less.
The study, which is the first in the Makkah area, shows that the reasons for running away were misuse of social media, bad friends, misunderstanding of freedom, copying other cultures, weak beliefs, lack of emotional security, a need for adventure, bad treatment by husband, lack of dialogue with members of the family, verbal abuse, poverty, no monitoring by parents, subject to violence from one of the parents or brothers.
An official of the Makkah Educational Directorate said everyone needs to feel safe and healthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally. A child who does not feel safe at a young age will grow up feeling insecure and unstable and without emotional security.
The chairman of the team that conducted the research said the family is the first component of the community and its first building block and “here we focused on the role of families in cooperation with the problems of runaway girls, as well as the role of community institutions and the factors associated with girls escaping from their families.”

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