When J was nine, both of her parents died in an accident, and a friend of her mother took her in. This friend had her own children and neglected J badly, forcing her to serve the rest of her family for many years.
The husband of the family frequently beat and raped J and when she became pregnant, he threw her out onto the street. On her first night of being homeless she was trying to sleep in an alley, and was raped by a group of men, causing her to suffer a miscarriage.
J began begging for money to live and met a man who bought her food, clothes and offered her a passport and a job as a nurse in the UK. She went with him and flew to England.
At the airport, the man exchanged her for money from another man, and told her he had put a curse on her that meant she would die if she tried to run away. She never saw him again. J was then taken to a house and locked in a room. She was starved, beaten and raped by dozens of men. Some of the men wore uniforms, to make her fear going to the police. After time, she is sure many of them were paying to rape her, and she lost count of how many men would come every day. After even more time, she was no longer locked in and could sometimes walk around the neighbourhood, but she was sure she would die if she ran away.
One day, she passed out whilst walking and was taken to a doctor by a passer-by. J was unable to tell the truth about why she was in the UK because of the curse she felt she had on her, but the police were informed and she was then detained in prison as an illegal immigrant, handcuffed and frightened, not understanding what was happening to her. When she finally told her story to a solicitor, because she said she felt it was “better to die and tell the truth before I did”, she was referred to the Helen Bamber Foundation and released from detention.
We have worked with J for a number of years, helping her through specialist psychotherapy to learn to trust others, become more confident in advocating for herself, and reducing her fear that the ‘curse’ will kill her.
We have worked with J for a number of years, helping her through specialist psychotherapy to learn to trust others, become more confident in advocating for herself, and reducing her fear that the ‘curse’ will kill her. We provided a medico-legal report for her solicitor to use in her asylum case, and after two anxious years, she was recently granted leave to remain in the UK. She began attending our Creative Arts Programme recently and applied for a college course to become a nurse.