I had six children altogether with my first husband, but only three survived.
We lived with his family, and it wasn’t really my husband who was the main problem, it was my brother-in-law.
It was a black day. When I got home there was a strange woman there. They held me down and it hurt. It felt like I was being torn to pieces!
The way I feel now is that not everything that people say is true and real, grown-ups don’t know everything. Some of them don’t know anything.
It was done so that we girls will grow up quickly and become modest. But we aren’t modest, we’re just scared.
We hadn’t argued or anything like that. I’d been down in the basement to collect the washing. Then it just exploded. After that it quickly got worse. He called me a “bloody whore” and started watching my every move. I don’t really understand why he changed. I’d made my mind up to find out but I didn’t get the chance. He died a couple of years back, so I still don’t know.
My brothers and sisters went off to the town with my mother, and she found another man but he abused my sister. Soon my sister was working as a prostitute. So I went to the police and said: “Is there anyone here who’d like to adopt me? Or lock me up? Do something, anything, because my mother is so awful.”
When he disappeared from my life, so did my great joy: music. I had been singing more or less professionally since I was five years old. My boyfriend and I had performed together, singing and playing in bars and at weddings. Outwardly, we were that perfect, sweet couple who made a living from their music.
One of the soldiers grabbed hold of me and tied me to him with his belt. My father protested, he said I was too young, they couldn’t take me with them. My brother got really angry and shouted at them to let me go. They shot him. He died instantly.
I left my family when I was 16. I’d had enough. My father was away working in different jobs most of the time, and my mother only cared about my brother and wouldn’t let me have any friends of my own. So I left home and joined up with some other girls. Life on the street has taught me that I’m a survivor, I’ve worked and I’ve managed to look after myself.
They can’t buy my soul, and they can’t buy my heart.