She arrived for to the enrollment of herchild in daycare. With her head down,a lost look on her face.
After a few minutes of the interview, she felt welcomed to tell about the pain that cut her heart. Her downcast eyes filled with tears as she said, “Tia, when I was little, I lived in a boarding school, I was sexually abused twenty five times by the man who owned the place. The other children were also abused. I can not forget this fact and now I need to tell my story. Today I am a mother. Knowing that my son will stay in a safe place like this gives me great peace.”
She continued to speak, “I went through so much pain when I was a child. I was abandoned by my family, sexually abused, but still managed to take care of my life. I worked hard and managed to buy a space. I worked in a warehouse to and still found time to take care of my house and children.
In the place where I had my shop, there was and still is, a monopoly of power by former police officers. Every week they charge the shopkeepers money. The shopkeeper must pay or be punished.
At first I could arrecar money to give to them. But the financial situation was getting hard and I could no longer afford the payment . They kicked me out of my house and my shop. I lived under the overpass in a wooden shack.
Do you think they were satisfied with the destruction they brought to my life and my children? Nah, they found me at my new address, under the overpass my house built of leftover wood. They were very aggressive, true brutal beasts, monsters. They wanted to rape my 8 year old daughter. You know what it is to go through this?
I fought with them not to hurt my daughter. I begged them to take me, but not touch her. And there before my children, all of them, three men raped me. They did not touch my daughter.
And I was there, after they left, like a bunch of garbage, thrown into a corner of the hut, embraced by crying children terrified by what they had seen.
I created forces to rise , fetch water and wash away the filth that those disgusting pigs had left on my body, but my soul was cut into a thousand pieces.
For 5 months I forgot what it was to have a body, to be a woman. I dared not look in the mirror, or allow myself to feel pain. The only strength I had was to take care of my children.
The story does not end there! After a while I started to feel bad. I went to the clinic, and was found that I was 5 months pregnant. Pregnant by those monsters!. I did the ultrasound and learned that I was pregnant with twins. What to do? Who could I ask for help?
I was having to accept psychological counseling for my children although they were not to blame. I could not report those monsters. They would send their accomplices to kill me.
And I'll have another problem if the bad guys know that I'm pregnant. The local thugs may want to kick me out of where I live.
You know what it is to live this way?,” This brave survivor concluded her story.
How many times have we heard similar stories and with a sense of impunity.
This woman who suffered so much, asked me not to reveal her name. Yet she is only one of many women around the world who suffer from gender violence; social, sexual, among other forms.
What can a professional do when you hear a dramatic story like this? We have to have professional care lines and firm action, protective and within the laws of each country. The first reaction is to be indignant. Making sure that there is no justification for it to happen and that such violent action is reported.
Welcoming the victim should be prioritized, creating a space of trust and comfort where she can share the pain that she keeps a secret. After the catharsis of pain, design a plan of action.. If her life is threatened, you must convince her to seek a refuge for victims, and submit to social and psychological care as well as the care of local health service. The action should be multidisciplinary and perpetrators reported to the police.
Offer educational and social support for children with social service visits and monitoring.
It will not be easy to take action. We are not able to assess the consequences of such trauma for all family members, but we must intervene and follow this case giving security for this woman, her family and others like her.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Ending Gender-Based Violence 2012.