Spain has specialised courts for crimes of violence against women – but eight out of ten women refuse to testify against their husbands.

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.


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.


Márcia

“The boy on the phone had exactly the same name as my husband, with ‘junior’ at the end.”


Name:
Márcia
Age: 49 

He spent more and more nights away from home. He didn’t want me to work, said I didn’t need to. My job was to be at home with the children. After a while I managed to pass my driving test but he has never allowed me to drive. Now I understand that he wanted to keep me at home, and that I should be completely dependent on him.


Henna

“I’m glad he’s a boy.”


Name:
Henna
Age: 21

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.


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.”


Bushra, Rihana, Parveen and Mary

“We woke up in a room filled with flames and smoke.”


Name:
Bushra, Rihana, Parveen and Mary
Age:
16-23


Rasha

“It felt like I was being torn to pieces!”


Name:
Rasha
Age: 14

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.


Laksmi

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


Name:
Laksmi
Age: 30 


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.


Evgenia

 “I was unconscious for three days once after he banged my head against the toilet.”


Name
: Evgenia
Age: 26


Carla

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


Name:
Carla
Age: 24