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Actress Sarah Shahi Went to a Women’s Shelter in the Dead of Night at Age 5: ‘It Saved My Life’



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When it comes to teaching her three children the importance of resilience, Sarah Shahi has quite the experience.
In an exclusive essay in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, the actress, who is best known for her roles in television shows like The L Word, Fairly Legal and most recently her role on Showtime’s City on a Hill, opens up about her childhood growing up in Texas as the daughter of immigrants from Iran, and her exposure to addiction from a young age.
“One night, when I was about 5, my father was drunk and passed out, and I remember my mom dragging me out of bed in the middle of the night,” she writes. “‘We have to leave. We have to leave now,’ she whispered. She was scared. I didn’t pack anything; I just had my pajamas. It was January, and it was cold as we headed to a women’s shelter in nearby Arlington, Texas. That shelter helped keep my mother and me safe and alive—and I now feel a sense of responsibility to share my story and highlight the necessity of such places.”

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