“University of Virginia, how could we have imagined that your grief and ours would be yoked? Bound. Not just by beautiful girls murdered, but by common forensics. We are yoked. We know how you feel.”
“We want to send a cheer tonight to rumble down the mountain. It includes the phrase “2..4..1..” That is Help Save the Next Girl’s motto. It means “I love you 2 much, 4ever, and 1 more time.” Unconditional love. Those were the last words Morgan Harrington spoke to her momma as she pulled out of the driveway to go to a concert. So, now you understand why Coach Beamer wears the “2, 4, 1” Patch on his jacket. Coach could not be here tonight, but you must pretend for a moment that I am Frank Beamer, and so I need your best voices. And so, I am going to ask you to repeat after me: WE ARE VIRGINIA TECH!” “WE ARE VIRGINIA TECH!”
“My name is Saherah Khan, I’m a 20-year-old freshman at Virginia Tech, and it’s a miracle that I’m even here right now.
I faced abundance of hardships as a child, and coming from a mixed family did not make things any easier for me. My father being of Pakistani decent and my mother Korean, my life was never “normal.” As a Pakistani man, my father had control over our household rules, family traditions, and even my life.
I was a rising high school freshman the summer of 2008 when my father had forced my family and I to go to a little village in Pakistan he called "home.” His promised us that we would be back in two months, but instead, I ended up escaping and making it back to the United States on August 28, 2010—a week before what was supposed to be my junior year of high school.
For two years, I lived in a village surrounded by the Taliban. For two years, I was abused. For two years, I was held hostage.
I’ve made the choice to be independent ever since I’ve come back. I live with my retired, non-English speaking grandmother and my mother who now suffers from long-term disabilities. After coming back from Pakistan, I’ve gained numerous responsibilities. For the past (almost) five years, it has become my duty to serve as my mother’s caregiver. I’ve been responsible for managing her medicine, appointments, bills, and other paperwork. Since age 16, I’ve been a full time student, and have been working part-time jobs to help support my family. Despite the challenges I had to face and am currently facing, I managed to successfully get myself through high school and put myself in college. These difficult situations have only made me stronger and more prepared for my life. Without these challenges I would not have learned how to endure significant hardships, and I wouldn’t be the strong and confident woman I am today.
My goal is to get my story out there not only so that people become more aware of the hardships that exist in this world, but also to remind everyone that anything is possible. I suffered for two years and made my way back home. I’ve done things that teenage girls should never have to do, witnessed things that normal people should not have to witness, and taken risks that no human being should ever have to take. I risked my life escaping the Taliban-surrounded village and I was lucky enough to make it back alive. Unfortunately, my brothers are still there. My father refuses to allow my brothers to return and I’ve been unable to speak to them lately due to the fact that their calls are being monitored now.
I want people to hear my story. I need to be heard.”