Have a brighter future ahead
‘My name is Ann (not the real name), I am 9 years old and the last born in a family of four. I was living with my mother who is single and mentally ill. My firstborn sister was married but she separated from her husband, she came back home and rented a house a short distance from our home. She supported us with the little she got from her casual jobs since our mother could not work because of her mental status. My mother spent most of her time in the streets and thus could not take good care of me. When my sister realized this, she took me to her house and we started living together.
One Sunday morning, I decided to go visit my friends where I was living with my mother. As soon as I got into the compound, a man living in the same plot spotted me and approached me, he sent me to a kiosk nearby to buy him some cigarettes and some goodies. Innocently I agreed, and when I came back, he welcomed me into his house and promised to give me the goodies. I entered the house because I trusted him for I had known him for some time. Immediately I got in, he forced me onto his bed and threatened to kill me if I dared to scream.
After the act, he pushed me out of his house. He then walked out of the house, closed the door and left, by then I was a short distance from his house and I was still crying. Fortunately, a lady in the same plot heard the cry from her house and she came out to where I was. I narrated what had happened and she alerted other neighbours who decided to look for the perpetrator but he was nowhere to be found. They reported the incident to the police. I was taken to the hospital and later placed in St Martin St. Rose rescue Centre for girls. The perpetrator was later arrested.’
On admission to St. Rose, Ann was withdrawn and could not trust anyone, she was scared and traumatized. She was welcomed into the Centre by both the teachers and the children and was assured of care and safety. Ann gradually opened up and shared her past experiences with the counselor. Her self-esteem and self-image were noted to improve with time and started participating in the centres activities.
Ann benefitted from various pieces of training offered in the Centre such as life skills and practical skills. She was observed to be assertive in the way she reacted to issues and in making decisions. She leant to make mats, bungles and bottle decorations. She had a special interest in learning how to cook and care for domestic animals; she also had a lot of interest in education. Through sessions on child protection, she became aware of her rights, how to avoid abuse, and how she should act or even who and where to report to in case of abuse, she said,‘I wish I had the information earlier, I could not have fallen into the hands of that man, but now am informed and I will pass the information to other pupils in my school when I go back home.
Ann testified against the perpetrator which she did with a lot of confidence. She is now waiting for the ruling and her wish was that the man is punished for what he did to her. Ann was later reintegrated with her sister and was taken back to school to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. ‘I thank all those who took part in my rescue and healing, ‘I now believe I have a bright future ahead, and I will never forget St. Rose’.