HOW I SUCCUMBED TO SEXUAL ABUSE IN A STRANGE LAND

Awah Francisca Mbuli
Posted August 22, 2017 from Cameroon
Door to Door Sensitization campaign against Human Trafficking:
This is one of our campaigns. It was carried out in the Big Ekombe Village, in the South West Region of Cameroon. It went well as the villagers were touched by our advice on child labour, because most of them are now sending their young children to their relatives in the cities and towns. We advise them to always visit their children as there could be stalkers tracking them down while they are at their relatives, and some will even end up not going to school. We talked about the recent form of migration (trans-African migration) through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. It's very alarming and the rate of death is high. We also advised them on traveling to the Middl East, especially for female children since they are the most vulnerable victims to human trafficking.
Visiting a Survivor from Kuwait.
Visiting a Survivor from Kuwait.: This is one of our humanitarian act. We did visit one of our sisters who went through the same ordeal as myself in Kuwait. But hers was different, she came back home mentally disable and pregnant. (1/1)

Whenever I reflect back on my life and wonder about the repeated occurrences of sexual abuse, I realize that we sometimes make choices that put us in harms way; choices that are facilitated by middle men who care more about the money we give them than the life we are going to live abroad. Looking back at all that happened makes me cry, but now I am looking forward to my future and how I intend to use my story to change the lives of as many girls and women as possible and it gives me hope.

My first attempt for greener pastures out of my country was in August 2010. I left Cameroon for my masters in Norway, with no perfect plans of survival. On arriving Norway I knew I had already made it big. It is everyone’s dream in Cameroon, to travel abroad, whether for greener pasture or for holiday. But after two months in the student hostel, I couldn’t pick up a job and all the money I had on me was finished. I looked everywhere for a job, but there was no success. As a last option, I decided to look for a church and start fellowshipping. I thought that if I find a church, I might meet some African brothers and sisters who may be willing to help me. But before the idea of looking for a church came up, I had been helping an African (Ghana/Zambian) couple to take care of their baby girl of about 9months both day and night in exchange for food. Yes, just food.

My first sexual Abuse

So finally, I found an African church a few blocks from my hostel. I was so happy my fellow Africans will connect me to any job so that I can save up some money for my school and family back home. But it was even worst there because I found no one to link me to any opportunity. By the way, there were a few others there who were also looking for help. Unfortunately, my rent finally expired and I became homeless. Luckily, one of the men in the church, who is almost 50 and above offered me a space in his apartment. I was so happy and a few days later I moved in with him. He was so God fearing, so I thought, and he was the assistant pastor of the church. He was married but his wife was in Africa (Ghana). For a week, everything was going on well in the house until one unfortunate day, he approached me for sex. I felt so bad, really bad. I felt so sad. I felt so disappointed that the man of God, whom I trust with my problems, will turn around and want to have sex with me just because he is housing me. On several occasions, I tried to resist but he shamelessly told me that in as much as we are God fearing, we are all humans. It was winter period and everywhere was snowing; I had nowhere to go, no one else to house me, so I was forced to play along with his demands. We started having sex. That went on for almost one year until I was no longer confortable.

So one day on my way from school I received a text from this my abuser that I should leave his house. He said this because I had been refusing his demands for almorst two weeks. Sometimes I even lock my door, he will knock it for hours and I will not open it. To punish me, he refused me food and even little cash for my bus cards because I stopped having sex with him. I had to stop! It was not easy for me. I was just tired of the guilt and the sex thing going on. We had sex every day, and on weekends maybe four times a day. I was tired of drinking hot drinks for fear I will get pregnant because I had my fiancé back in Africa (Cameroon). This wasn’t me, I thought. I cried in my quiet moments. But I was desperate and vulnerable, and I had no one else to turn to.

My second sexual abuse

Good thing is, I was into Internet friendships. I had made some girlfriends in some faraway village in the north of Norway. After the one year of abuse, and after he sent me the text message to leave, I left his house one cold winter evening and I spend two nights at the train station with no destination in mind. One of my online Norwegian girl friend and his dad drove a long distance to come and pick me up. We finally arrive their little town after one day of driving by car. There I had to stop school because it was very far from my school. But I was so happy that a new dawn has come. I was so happy to be in the comfort of a Norwegian family that was ready to accommodate me. I sang songs of praise

What I did not know was that my friend will leave their house so soon. She left me with his dad one week after my arrival. I was left with his father who was divorced and of age 58, by then in 2011. He was so nice at first but later he went into the same demand as the Ghanaian man; he started making sexual advances. Once more, Francisca was helpless. I was so helpless that I had to give in. The sex thing commenced, and as it reached a high level, one thing came to my mind -- I thought I could easily get my stay in Norway through him, but things didn’t work out as I was thinking. This guy was a sailor and a womanizer. I stayed there with him for almost another one year until I started having some mental problems that almost took my mind away. I was depressed and losing it. I needed to return home to regain my sanity. Then my Norwegian man friend did well to pay me my flight ticket to return home. I returned home in 2012 but again, all was not well because I couldn’t cope with the unemployment and poverty going on around me. I had to look for another alternative to look for greener pasture.

My third sexual abuse

In May 2015, I found an opportunity in Kuwait, through middle man in Cameroon which I thought was great. I was told I was going to teach English in Kuwait on a good salary. Without waste of time, I compiled my documents and in under no time, I headed to Kuwait. But as I got to the airport in Kuwait, I was introduced to my employer. I tried to find out what employment that was and I was told I was going to work as a domestic servant. It was another shock of my life but there was nothing I could do. I thought I had had so many shocks of my life, but this was the biggest shocker. I had no choice, I had to follow him, put on my domestic servant uniform and resume work. The working conditions were horrible, but I decided to manage. Close to three months of my stay, the worse happened.

One day, my Kuwait employer, after his wife and two sons went on vacation, he asked me to help massage him; he claimed he slipped off from the stairs. He said the doctor has advised that he should be massaged on his buttocks. I refused to do it, I advised him to go to a massage spar, but he refused and said I must do it for him and that I should remember there is no “No” in the dictionary of his house. So I was forced to be massaging him. After two days of massaging him, he tore my housemaid dress and forced his way in me. He raped me. He continued raping me for a week until I found my way to run away from his house and seek refuge at The Central African Republic Embassy in Kuwait; Cameroon has no embassy there.

Way forward

While in slavery with my Kuwaiti master, I was reaching out to many humanitarian organizations that are fighting against human trafficking, and so one of them in New York City called “Freedom For All” paid my return air fare to Cameroon.

My story of sexual abuse between the years 2010 to 2015 may sound like an unrealistic movie, but this is what I went through. After going through all of these, especially this last ordeal in Kuwait, it sparked up the zeal in me to fight against all this human wrongs. So I now run an organization called Survivors' Network (SN), in Kumba, Cameroon, which is made up of female survivors of human trafficking who have come together to fight against Human trafficking and modern day slavery. We use all available media and move door to door to sensitize the population on the ills of human trafficking. We discourage parents from sending their children abroad without a properly defined mission. I have personally had radio and tv appearances at home and abroad; talking about my ordeal and sensitizing the population.

Being a victim of human trafficking and sexual abuse at the same time is hard, but coming out of it and working against it makes me feel like I am on a mission to help as many girls and women from succumbing to the same fate. Even though for some people these experiences could be deemed a failure, I see all these events as an opportunity for me to free Cameroonian girls and women first from the shackles of slavery and trafficking, and then hopefully the world. I feel complete, today,tomorrowand forever!

These are links to some of my works;

CNN Freedom Project, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a2nAIkYxKg

PBS, Newshour, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOLtyg-UyqE&t=13s

LTM TV station,https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tfom6YhjTVw

Batimum FM Brussels, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAJqJzkUOsg

Please follow me on our website,www.survivorsnetwork.co

Our twitter page,

https://twitter.com/SurvivorsSNC

Our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/sncameroon/

Our emails are,

Email1:info@survivorsnetwork.co

Email 2:francisca@survivorsnetwork.co

This story was submitted in response to Learning from Failure.

Comments 15

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Nakinti
Aug 22, 2017
Aug 22, 2017

Dear Francisca,

This is a powerful story you shared with us here on World Pulse. You have told your story so detail, yet so flawless that everyone would understand exactly what you went through. This is too much for you alone to have bore. But the good thing is that you are a strong woman -- one who was able to come out of that trauma, dust her dress and embark on a mission to rescue many others who still find themselves in such dehumanizing circumstances. I am so proud of you sis. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

May God continue to give you the grace to do more for other women and girls

Sending you love

Nakinti

Awah Francisca Mbuli
Aug 22, 2017
Aug 22, 2017

Thanks a lot Sis. Nakinti, your advice to us on the 12th of August at the WorldPulse Seminar gave me the courage to this bold step.

Florence Ngah
Aug 22, 2017
Aug 22, 2017

Dear Francisca,

Its a pitty you passed through all these alone in your efforts to make life admirable and comfortable for you and your family. I don't know why men will always want to take advantage on women in any miserable condition they meet them. Am happy and can say proud of you in the ways you managed and came out of it still with your head up high. I admire your bravery  and courage not leaving out the efforts you are putting in to help others from falling into the same situation in the future. We shall join our voices to make a change in the lives of women God being our helper. Remain blessed as we put our hands on deck for a positive change in the world of women. Thanks Florence Ngah

Awah Francisca Mbuli
Aug 22, 2017
Aug 22, 2017

Dearest Florence,

Our first meeting on the World Pulse Seminar on the 12, was not a coincidence, but a start for greater collaborations in the future.

Thanks a lot for your kind words.

Jill Langhus
Aug 22, 2017
Aug 22, 2017

What an amazing, inspiring survivor you are. You inspire me so much. Thanks for sharing your story, Francisca. Shine on!!!

Awah Francisca Mbuli
Aug 22, 2017
Aug 22, 2017

Jill, what more can I say to you.

You came into my life not by chance, but by a means to be my eye opener in my humanitarian works.

Love you lots.

Jill Langhus
Aug 23, 2017
Aug 23, 2017

Too true. There are no coincidences. XO

Awah Francisca Mbuli
Aug 23, 2017
Aug 23, 2017

They are incidence that happened in my life that i will never forget, even in my next world.

Chi Karen
Aug 22, 2017
Aug 22, 2017

Hi Francisca, I am so touched by this and I hope u didn't have to go through this but thank God for what you are today and may he continue to bless you to do more for others.

Awah Francisca Mbuli
Aug 22, 2017
Aug 22, 2017

Thanks a lot Karen,

May be God made all these to happen to me to prepare me for this task ahead.

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Aug 23, 2017
Aug 23, 2017

Hello Frank your story is truly shocking. I am happy because you have turned a story of pain into a foundation to build survivor. How do the parents and young people you sensitise take your message on going abroad?

nsahmala
Aug 24, 2017
Aug 24, 2017

Dear Francisca,

This is a heart-touching. It is difficult to bear all this, but luckily you came out of it alive to change the story for others. I first heard parts of your story and similar ones on CRTV at a time when I was writing my third poetry collection aimed at fighting blind "bush falling" (looking for greener pastures) in Africa. The collection, entitled If You Must Fall Bush, was published by Langaa RPCIG in 2016 (http://www.langaa-rpcig.net/If-You-Must-Fall-Bush.html/) and has been helping in its little ways, being researched in and out of Cameroon. Even my present postgraduate dissertation for a comparative literary and cultural studies programme in Europe now focuses on bush falling, while I am creating an NGO with similar objectives as yours so that together we fight such ills in our human society. Thanks for your bravery and determination to spare others these heart-breaking ordeals.

Nsah Mala 

Awah Francisca Mbuli
Aug 24, 2017
Aug 24, 2017

Dear Nsahmala,

I will never relent my efforts, i just pray for good health and long life.

Thanks a lot for the encouragement.

Francisca Awah,

Founder, Survivors' Network, Cameroon.

www.survivorsnetwork.co

leila Kigha
Aug 26, 2017
Aug 26, 2017

Wow!

Am speechless at all you had to go through. 

But I am thankful you turned your experiences into something beautiful. 

Am happy I decided to read your story this evening not only to get to know my fellow sisters but also find encouragement and bond.

you encouraged me and am glad to know there is someone who speaks out against such forms of violence against the female fold. Sexual violence is inhuman! 

Keep raising your voice sister, we are here to help and cheer you on.

Gisele Beer
Sep 02, 2017
Sep 02, 2017

Eh eh!!!! Franky,u went through all this alone. U are a brave Lady indeed. Keep doing what u are doing.Bush falling is not meant for all especially when u don't have any body there.I pray God gives u more strength and long life to continue this good work.Obosso ma sister.