Women’s voices

Die Frauen, deren Geschichten wir hier veröffentlichen dürfen, wollten allesamt nicht selber vortragen. Aber ihre Erfahrungen erlauben uns Einblicke in die Kämpfe, die Frauen vor, während und nach einer Flucht täglich führen müssen.

Neira, from Goma, North Kivu, DR Congo

Women always have to fight. We are the real warriors. Men say they are warriors but that is not true, they fight for their own ego when they want it. But we fight every day. Fight for our children, for our brothers, sisters, parents, friends and we even fight for our men.

Men say they protect us. That is not true. We women always have to stand strong and it is because of many men.

My husband said he was a business man. But he never showed me any of his work and he never earned enough to support the family and our four children in Kongo. Much of the money he drank away with booze. I know because he always beat me when he was drunk. I always had to protect my children from him. I want my children to have all the chances they can in life. They are clever, kind, beautiful children and I am so proud of them. So I worked in Balama as a teacher in a nursery school to earn enough money for their school fees. They all stayed at school and did very well. But also, I was saving money secretly, always hiding it from my husband. It was my dream to start my own orphanage with vegetables and animals in the garden and a school for the children. So at weekends I worked as a Piki-Piki driver. But men did not like a woman to ride a motorbike. Often they would harass me and would not ride behind me.

Then, when I told my husband I was leaving him with my children, he became very violent. My children were very frightened and he took my motorbike and said he would not let me go. There was also much fighting in the area at the time. I knew my husband was hanging around with some of the fighters, and the violence was getting ever closer. So I used all the money I  had saved to take my children to Europe.


A woman who does not want any more information about her publicised:

The interviewer in Germany told me the whole process would have to be very fast, as I was pregnant. It seamed to me like he did not even listen. He already knew he had to get me out of the country fast, before I had my baby.

I had physical problems during the pregnancy, such as bleeding. Possibly this is due to being beaten on the thighs and on the belly during my pregnancy. I was also hit with the metal caps of police shoes. This always occurred when I was alone as follows:

I was shouted at and insulted terribly and in an utterly sexist way. The police accused me of my support for the opposition. The police hit me so so hard in the face, that I could not eat for days. They beat my whole body with battons. I was sexually abused in a hard, painful and abasing way. The men came at night and tore my clothes off to see me naked. They underlined their power over me, stating that they could simply do this. I was threatened with rape. And I was told that I would be killed, if I should mention this treatment to anybody.

After these events, I could not sleep soundly until coming to germany.

If I gave money to the police, they left me alone. If I did not, they continued the abuse. If the money was not enough, I was beaten a little less, thrown to the floor by my hair, insulted and spat upon.

My daughter was present at the assaults. When she cried, the police shouted at her and terrorised her.


Maryam, from Sukuta, Gambia:

There are many good men who will treat you ok. But also there are men who think they can do what they want with women, I have met them everywhere. Even if you want to travel like the men, the trafficers will always try to make you pay as a woman. In the way they want you to pay. If you are lucky, they sex you and then leave you alone, but if you are not lucky, they will keep you waiting longer and use you while they wait. In Lybia it was not good. I had to wait for a long time, although I had already paid to travel further. We all waited together and every time somobody came in, you did not know: “Will it be my turn to go now? Or will somebody fuck me now? Or will it be somebody else this time?”

I do not like to think about the travelling to Germany. As a woman you are always a tool for men. The men in my camp now are OK. But there is nobody here who understands what a woman needs. When we do not feel good, we must go to an office. I went there also to ask for contraception. They did not give me any at all. Although I asked many times. Then I became pregnant. I have many problems with the pregnancy, I feel very bad. I went to the office and said I want to stopp the pregnancy, I did not want a baby.

Things are so hard now, I need to make my life here first. I need to earn money to support my family back home, I need to learn German. This is not the time for a baby. But they said they can not help me, they gave me a pill against stomach pain.

Now I must have my baby. I will do all I can for my baby, though it will be very hard and I will have to hold back my own needs. But I am afraid of what people around me will say. The father has been sent back to Italy, I can not contact him now. People will not understand. And what will I tell my baby when it asks me “Where is my father?” I will not know what to say.


From a woman in a transit camp who does not wish to be named:

One of the biggest problems we face here is the constant insecurity through lack of privacy. I feel ill at ease living at close quarters with strangers and sharing facilities such as toilets and bathrooms. The bathrooms are never locked, and sometimes men come in when you are in the shower or on the toilet. I am always afraid of rape and abuse, so now we women never want to go to the toilet if there is not a man to protect the doorway. This is very hard when we have our period of the month. Then also, we can not always get the hygienic material we need for this period, we must often buy it ourselves and we do not get extra money for that. There is nobody here who sees this need I think.

Also I do not understand, but the security is always coming into the women’s rooms. What have we ever done? There are some young men who are very unhappy. They fight often with the security, because the security treat them like dirt. But I do not understand, what have we women done? We keep away from the security. I do not like talking with them anyway. There was one time when many many police came around 7 in the morning. They searched everybody. But then, I do not understand, they came and stayed a long long time in the womens’ rooms. Our children were very frightened. The police had dogs with them and they only said they have to check all our papers and we must not leave. But why did they always walk their dogs around the women and children? I still do not know why they did this, but now I always hope they will not come again.

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