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Amani: Seeing Justice Restored

I WAS 8 YEARS OLD. I WAS LIVING WITH MY MOTHER AND THE PERPETRATOR WHO WAS A VERY FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN.

Life was easy until one fateful day, I realized that it was all a lie. Things started to change. The person I knew as humble and quiet turned out to be a monster. He became extremely violent and subjected my mom to physical violence and economic control. As a result, life became increasingly hard. We would stay at home for months without going to school because he would spend all the money that was meant for school fees.

I was 13 years old. He defiled me and took away my innocence. I had never felt so much pain. He broke me into pieces, I felt so empty. To add salt to the wound, he threatened to kill me if I told anyone. Young as I was, I could not risk death so I kept quiet. There came a point when I could not bear the pain anymore and I became depressed and suicidal. When I was 14, I finally told my mother the truth. Though she was shocked and confused, she supported me and reported it to the police. After a lengthy court process, the perpetrator was found guilty and he was handed a long sentence.
Freely In Hope

FINDING HOME

I met Freely in Hope at a time when I desperately needed psychological, physical, and emotional support. I was not only provided with a school, but I found a home. FIH has been a place that not only accepted me for who I am, but also supported me in dealing with my trauma. The amount of strength and courage in each member of this wonderful community has taught me lessons that I will take with me wherever I go. FIH has given me the ability to reach out to others who have had experiences similar to mine. In my everyday interaction with other survivors, a new sense of hope is renewed within me. I am happy because I was able to continue my studies; I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce. I keep pressing on in my journey towards healing, it is not easy, but every single step is worth it.

 

MY DREAM

I want to become a motivational speaker and inspire people with my story globally, as well as mentoring those who have shared my experience. I also want to participate in financial initiatives to help end sexual violence. The opportunities that education provides will help me be successful and achieve my dream. I want to create safe spaces for survivors to speak out against injustices in their communities. I believe that one day, both men and women will work together, taking the responsibility of seeing justice restored to those victimized by sexual violence. When I share my story, I hope that survivors suffering in silence will find hope and reach out for support.

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Mental Healing, a photo series

I was that sad girl because of the rape and trauma that had impacted me. I felt so hopeless. I even altered my name to pretend to be someone else. I had lost trust in everyone and thought that they were going to harm me just like the perpetrator did, I knew him well too.

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