“I was just three years old the first time a man took my pants off.”
Blessing, Johannesburg, South Africa

Nur

Nur

“He beat me so hard that I left home many times. The police used to pick me up and make me go home again.”


Name:
Nur
Age: 17

Almost a year had passed since my mother died. She had divorced my father because he was violent, but she died of a heart disease. That’s why I was living with my father.


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.


Blessing

“I was only three the first time someone took my pants off and put his finger inside me.” 


Name:
Blessing
Age:
27


Carla

“The police held him for a while so I could go back and get some clothes and nappies.”


Name:
Carla
Age: 24


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.”


Themba

“They called me a bloody lesbian and raped me.”  


Name:
Themba
Age:
29


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.


Fátima

“After my daughter was murdered, I slept for six months.”


Name:
Fátima
Lives: 
São Gonçalo


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


Javiera

“He laid the shame on me by saying – Look what you made me do.”


Name:
Javiera
Age: 33