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

Sheema

“I pray to Allah for forgiveness five times every day.”  


Name:
Sheema
Age:
18 

My sister also works at the brothel. Now that I’ve run away I can’t have any contact with my sister. The brothel madam’s son used to drive us from one customer to another and take all the money.
I’ve done everything the men have asked of me.
I’ve had an abortion.
I pray to Allah for forgiveness five times a day, because I know that what I’ve done is wrong.


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.


Tatiana

“I called the police, who said they’d come when I was dead.”


Name
: Tatiana
Age: 50 

When he was drunk and angry, he beat me. I called the police, who said they’d come when I was dead.
I went on reporting him. Once he was fined 70 dollars because he’d almost strangled me.

The problem was always that he’s partially sighted, although I’m convinced he’s faking it.  But no-one believed me, that I could be the victim. I mean, he was disabled!


Carla

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


Name:
Carla
Age: 24


Evgenia

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


Name
: Evgenia
Age: 26


Emerance

“Half my family died that night.”


Name:
Emerance
Age:
20

One of the soldiers grabbed hold of me and tied me to him with his belt. My father protested, he said I was too young, they couldn’t take me with them. My brother got really angry and shouted at them to let me go. They shot him. He died instantly.


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.


Svetlana

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


Name:
Svetlana
Age: 38


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.


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.


Akhtar

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


Name:
Akhtar
Age: 35