“The self-defence course is mainly about helping women to raise their awareness, so that they feel empowered.” 
David Ruz Cerezo, police officer, Cordoba, Spain

Eva-Britt

“Ten years after the first blow I was elected to the European Parliament.”


Name:
Eva-Britt
Age: 64

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.


Wendy

“I’m afraid, but I have to cope.”


Name:
Wendy
Age: 34

My plan is to find a job where I can look after children, or work in a shop, but I can’t work in a factory because I can’t lift heavy things. I’ve developed osteoporosis, after all the pregnancies. I’ve got four children who are alive, and I lost one in the fourth month.


Faida

“I have no hope for the future.


Name:
Faida
Age:
40


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.


Nyota

“I lied about the rape because I thought my mother would beat me.”


Name:
Nyota
Age:
14

She stands up
during the conversation, she can’t keep her legs together and it hurts too much to sit down. Her mother, Nyabisepela, is furious and wants to tell us what happened. She wants the world to know what happened to her first-born daughter. Nyota also answers our questions. We interview them briefly before we take Nyota to hospital.  


Mariana

“When I was nine years old he made a woman of me.”


Name
: Mariana
Age: 32 


Rosângela

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


Name:
Rosângela
Age: 42


Svetlana

“We have to share a home. I’ve nowhere to go.”


Name:
Svetlana
Age: 38


Luciana

“The police didn’t come, even though I rang several times.”


Name:
Luciana
Age:
44


Carina

“My daughter lives with him, even though she’s seen him hit me. It makes me so sad.”


Name:
Carina
Age:
51

Several months had passed
before I decided to report the last time. I had five fractures to my face.  The injuries had healed but I’ve got pictures which I took myself on my mobile phone. I sent them to my friend so he wouldn’t find them.  The photographs, together with the medical certificate, were enough.


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.