“I have never accepted the fact that I have been circumcised, because it causes me so much pain. It’s very hard for me to have sex.”
Magda, Minya, Egypt

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.


Laksmi

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


Name:
Laksmi
Age: 30 


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.


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.


Rafaela

“He’s changed. He’s a new man and I love him.”


Name:
Rafaela
Age: 24

I broke up with him several times and went back to live with my mother, but I always went back to him. He was so full of regret, and I love him.


Eszter

“I’ve stopped feeling ashamed for something I didn’t do.”


Name:
Eszter
Age: 22


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!


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.


Themba

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


Name:
Themba
Age:
29


Elizabeth

“I asked him to forgive me for making him beat me.”


Name:
Elizabeth
Age:
23


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.