I just don’t know what to do anymore, my life is in ruins and I can’t see any way out. Every day is a constant struggle just to stay alive and I can’t remember the last time I slept without nightmares or woke without feeling terrified. I am surrounded by death and destruction and I feel so alone even though I know that I am not the only one suffering in this way.
Many of my friends and neighbours have lost people that they love to violence and hatred; we try to comfort each other but the pain is overwhelming and we no longer have the strength to help the grieving as we are all carrying our own burden of loss. Constant fear is making us weak….is that what they want? Do they keep us in this perpetual state of terror to stop us from fighting back? We were weak from the outset, often hungry and sick, we don’t have the will or the means to beat them.
Like many of my friends I do not have a man in my life, there is just me and my children. My husband was one of the first to be lost; one of the brave and strong he fought back and they shot him. They laughed as his life blood flowed out of his dear courageous body, I know, I was there but, God forgive me, I hid from view in case they came for me too. In some ways my man was lucky as his death was quick but, since that time, the soldiers have honed their techniques, they prolong the suffering, they are tormentors and almost inhuman now.
No-one is free from their tyranny anymore but they choose victims at random, no more the accusations of law-breaking or political dissidence, we are target practice or toys to be broken. We women are often dragged from our homes in the middle of the night and ordered to strip; this ritual humiliation means nothing to us now but the trauma of what follows will stay with us forever. One of us is chosen. The first time we didn’t know what to expect but now we know; we have buried 10 of our sisters in this village alone. We were forced to watch as they were repeatedly violated in the worst possible ways until they just gave up on life and their souls slipped away….
Last night the victim was a young girl, she was 8 and the only child of my closest friend. They don’t want the women any more, their tastes have shifted and I know that they will not stop until we are all completely broken. My friend fought back to protect her child, she was fierce like a lioness but it changed nothing; she was forced to watch her daughter die and then………..and then…….I can say no more except that she is gone.
I can’t stand this any more. I know that mine and my children’s time will come and we will all fall victim; I have to protect us somehow. I have heard rumours that there is a way out, there is a way to escape to another land where people are not hungry and afraid, where Governments don’t take pleasure in death and destruction. I know it will be a risk for me and my little ones but what else can I do?
I will be a refugee and I may die trying to escape this hell but maybe, just maybe, someone in this free land I’ve heard about will take pity on me and my family.