Community Update

Digital Empowerment Toolkit Now Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits aim to provide the resources you need to advance your social change work.

We are excited to introduce our Digital Empowerment Trainers’ Toolkit, a dynamic resource to help you bring the benefits of connecting online to women in your community. Check it out today! »

A woman, no address, no name and too afraid to live!!

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.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »

Comments

Nakinti's picture

Oh My God!

Valeria,
I was reading this story and crying at the same time.
Why on earth should such bundle of pain descend on one woman.
May God almighty take control of this very devastating situation.
More courage to this woman [no name], she must be a very strong woman to bear all this.
Thank you Valeria for sharing this story.
I will keep praying for her.
Love.

Nakinti B. Nofuru
2013 VOF Correspondent
Reporter for Global Press Institute
Bamenda - Cameroon
Email: nakinti@globalpressinstitute.org
nakintin@yahoo.com

Surely dear .... She is a very strong woman. Your name is love and commitment to their children.
We will always support her.

Hugs.

Mukut's picture

Dear Valeria

Valeria,

This is a touching and powerful story.I completely second your thoughts on providing educational and social support to the oppressed. It will help them empower and mitigate the pain and humiliation suffered at the hands of the perpetrator.

Thank you so much for sharing this story.

Much love,

Mukut Ray

Indeed dear Mukut, the victim is so sad and it takes before starting anything welcomes her and say look I'm here. Count me.
Support is primordeal and more physical and mental safety of this person.

Hugs.
Valéria

Wendyiscalm's picture

VALERIA

Hello Valeria,

Once again you have stunned us with the authenticity and honesty of the situation by your openness and excellent telling of the situation. I applaud you for this.

The situation is overwhelming, multi-layered and complex; Given that, what do you think the next best simple, specific step/action would be to move in the direction of progress;

Thank you for your time.

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together),

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Potter's picture

Welcome Back, Valeria

I remember you well from the last Voices of Our Future group where I always found your writing powerful and inspiring. I always looked forward to your posts. And this piece is another example of the power of your voice. What a devastating story told with passion and empathy! It needs some editing to give it the polish it deserves. I would always be happy to edit for you if you like. I am so impressed by the World Pulse writers, often writing in their second (or third or fourth or more) language. I am a total idiot about learning another language but I'm a decent editor in English. This story needs to be told far and wide. I'd be honored to help make that happen!

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

I need your help.

Dear sister Potter, I am very glad you like the way I write. I only know the language of my country, Brazil, the Portuguese, but I would be very proud if you can help me translate to another language. I translate in google and sometimes not clear;

Grateful for your kindness

Affectionate hugs.

Valeria Barbosa

Potter's picture

Dear Valeria

Oh my! I would never pretend to be able to translate. But I'd be happy to fine tune once you've used the Google translator. I could tell when reading your piece that the akward spots were due to translation issues. I'd be happy to make suggestions if you like. Just keep writing! You have so much to say!

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Good morning!

Great dear Potter. When I write another text, I'll do the translation on google, then send you to help me and then publish. Thankfully.

Hugs

Valéria

Potter's picture

Of course!

Juat say when. I'll be happy to help.

Wendyiscalm's picture

The world is opening up to you

Hello Valeria,

The world is opening up to you because you deserve it !

Potter is one of your angels and knows the meaning of ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together),

Love,

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Thank you.

Greengirl's picture

Dear Valeria

The story is really very pathetic!

I couldn't help but wonder why one woman should suffer so much. Having pulled through it all to the point that she can open up about such painful experiences says a lot about the woman. She must be a very strong personality!

Thank you so much for sharing.

Truly,

Olanike

Dear Olanike.

I agree with you dear sister, no woman and / or person deserves to suffer so much. She is a very strong woman, she needed was to be heard, and take out from your heart what was bothering her so seeking the cure for your soul.
This monitoring with social, psychological and awaiting their children were born.

with love.

Valéria

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Dear sister Jana.

I talk to all the sisters that I am very happy. I'm getting a beautiful birthday present of our beloved sister Ja Potter, the publishing of my texts. I stated a few times that I do not know English. I translate texts on google, I know that is not perfect. Using the same feature to read text that you post.

We must overcome our own limits!

And alone? Never, says our beloved sister Wendy Stebbins. Ubuntu.I am who I am because of who we are together.

Very grateful to Jana Potter for his immense love. Happy for the welcome to my screams, chants, requests for a better world for all.

Thank you.

Rakiba's picture

Dear Valeria

By reading your story,I was quite shock to know what a ordeal she had to go through.These brutality should be stopped because women are not anything like utensil or any other stuff,that you bought them, use them and dump them when you need. We all need to become strong and fight against this and bring change all around the world.

Much love,
Rakiba

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Dear Rakiba, good day.

It is true nobody should live this brutality. No one deserves to be a victim of the power of the force.

And we need to be strong to listen and intervene in these stories, we part from the moment that we learn.

Always seek internal and external resources to change the paradigm of vilolência against any person or living being.

Valéria

Anita Muhanguzi's picture

So sad

Dear Valeria,
This is a very sad story. It broke my heart into a thousand pieces just knowing that there are so many horrible things happening to women all over the world each second we don't know a quarter of them. Thank you for bringing out this story and we pray and hope that she goes through this trying moment, i pray that she is able to get the counselling that she needs to be able to bring up her children and fend for them. I pray that the Almighty God continues to give you the strength to help more women in such situations or more worse situations. God bless you

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Head of Legal and Advocacy
Centre for Batwa Minorities
a.kiddu@gmail.com
cfmlegal@gmail.com
Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

It's a story of a warrior

Dear sister she is being followed by several professionals. We have to pray and ask God for mercy for this woman and her children. While welcome, guide and intervene in this story but not to be repeated in this family.

hugs

Valéria

Heidi's picture

Dear Valeria

Valeria,
It is an amazing and wonderful thing that you are available with services for this woman. To offer a path or a way to move forward for this woman after the horrific experiences she was victim to is truly important work. Thank you for all that you do.
Heidi

Valéria Barbosa da Silva's picture

Hi Heidi

Dear Heidi grateful for their recognition.

Actually I do very little for these people. The service network is largely responsible for the final product of our action.
It is important for every professional dealing with social problems and learn to put the needs that arise in their work in a service network.
A person does very little for the other, but if this person knows the available resources that can ecaminhar their clients and do follow up with the technicians of the local network this works.
We must recognize the diversity of problems that arise and to direct appropriate professional that situation.
The client can not get going from one side to the other, the suffering must be addressed to heal.
The most important is teamwork. Together we are stronger.

kisses
Valéria

Heidi's picture

More than very little

Hi again Valeria,
I have to disagree that these actions are very little ... your impact to start connecting individuals to the resources available to them is huge. Together we are stronger indeed!
Take care,
Heidi

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

PAKISTAN: They Went to School and Never Came Back

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Announcing Our Prize Winners!

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative