“The most important thing is that the men don’t need to feel they are alone with their questions, feelings and expectations.”
Sergey Zakharow, who educates fathers in St Petersburg, Russia

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.”


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.  


Cathy and Michael

“What’s wrong with me, choosing a man like that?”


Name:
Cathy and Michael
Age:
39 and 19

Cathy: 
I’m a Christian, and for me my divorce was a huge failure. I wanted to be married and live a secure and stable family life, that was what I really wanted. He knew that. He made me believe that he wanted the same.


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.


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.


Monique

“I made my mind up when he started beating our son.”


Name:
Monique
Age: 26

He didn’t want me to leave the house for anything, suspected me of all kinds of things, and when he had beaten me he used to lock me in the house so no-one would see my injuries.
He didn’t drink and he didn’t take drugs. He was just crazy. He threatened to beat me to death if I reported him to police.


Elena

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


Name:
Elena
Age: 24


Laksmi

“My father said: If you’ve kidnapped the children I’ll help your husband to get them back.”


Name:
Laksmi
Age: 30 


Rosângela

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


Name:
Rosângela
Age: 42


Anette

“They threw me out of the hospital. Junkie, they thought.”


Name:
Anette
Age: 53

We smoked hash
and sniffed stuff in the park, and broke into the supermarkets.  I might have stopped doing all that if I hadn’t discovered amphetamines. When I put the needle into my arm I knew I’d come home.


Nicole

“My abusers will win if I don’t make something of my life.”


Name:
Nicole
Age:
63