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.
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.
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.
He forced his way in to my father’s home then he rang me and said he would kill everyone, my whole family, so I said I’d go straight over. I went with him and then there was a year of assaults and rape and everything you can imagine. We used to sell bread on the streets.
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.
It was dark. I learned that I could walk into the town centre to get something to eat and clean clothes but I always went back to the railway station. After a while I was arrested there and locked up. My father came and got me and took me back to Minya but I ran away again. I went back to the railway station and the boys and girls there. I was better off there.
I don’t know what the future holds.
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.