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

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.


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.


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.


Ann

Ann

“I don’t want to stop hating, it’s my right.”


Name:
Ann
Age: 35

Things were always chaotic in my family. My mother died, I was young when I left home and I had a few dramas with boyfriends.


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.


Rosângela

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


Name:
Rosângela
Age: 42


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


Tanya

“No money, no food for the children, no diapers – just six children and another on the way.” 


Name:
Tanya
Age:
44


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.


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.