“Non-violence is better for people. Violence costs. That’s an argument everyone understands!”
Alexander Gogolkin, politician and ex-military commander, St Petersburg, Russia

Akhtar

“You can’t live on your own when you’re a woman in Pakistan. Never.”


Name:
Akhtar
Age: 35


Maryam

“I went to the police and said: Is there anyone here who’d like to adopt me? Or lock me up?”


Namn:
Maryam
Age: 15

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.”


Vanessa

“Singing was associated with the suffering, the violence and the fear.”


Name: Vanessa
Age: 33

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.


Lucille

“He wanted my nine-year-old to be awake and to watch.”  


Name: Lucille
Age: 46

There was a man in our neighbourhood who was really popular with all the children. He used to invite them round, he played with them, and he let them play games on his computer. He had four computers in a small apartment. One day he invited me round too, to play Nintendo Wii. I thought it was fun, just like my girls, at least while I was conscious.


Ann

Ann

“I don’t want to stop hating, it’s my right.”


Name:
Ann
Age: 35

Things were always chaotic in my family. My mother died, I was young when I left home and I had a few dramas with boyfriends.


Martha

“I have to have money so I can protect my child.”

Name: Martha
Age: 14

It was dark. I learned that I could walk into the town centre to get something to eat and clean clothes but I always went back to the railway station.  After a while I was arrested there and locked up. My father came and got me and took me back to Minya but I ran away again. I went back to the railway station and the boys and girls there. I was better off there.

I don’t know what the future holds.


Elena

“It turned out that the medical certificate had disappeared. I expect his father bribed someone.”


Name:
Elena
Age: 24


Mapendo

“My husband screamed when they raped me. So they shot him.”  


Name:
Mapendo
Age:
33

My husband, who was standing there tied up and was forced to watch the rape, screamed out. So they shot him. There was a big hole in his back. I tried to break free but one of the rapists stabbed me in the foot with his bayonet.


Jents

“We’ll show you what it’s like to be with a real man.”


Name:
Jents
Age:
23

I knew one of them. I knew that I had upset him earlier and that they’d decided to teach me a lesson. They shouted “You’re not a man! You’re going to find out what it’s like to be woman!” Then they tore my clothes off, beat me and started to rape me. That’s the last thing I remember.


Rosângela

“I was a victim, but I’m not a victim now.”


Name:
Rosângela
Age: 42


Maryam

“It’s better to bring the girls up properly than to put them through that. And now my own mother feels the same way!”


Name: 
Maryam Saiid
Age: 32

The midwife had a razor. I bled for a whole week afterwards.
I never talked to my mother about what had happened. It was a forbidden topic of conversation.

I still don’t enjoy sex.