20 June, 2014

Tell a different story: Monica

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Category: European Action Day, Refugees' stories
Ruxandra Pandea
7 am

Monica

by NGWANA Christian Fozo

 

Monica (16) was a victim of forced marriage in her native town in northern Nigeria. She suffered from torture and sexual harassment from her 50-year- old husband Because Monica wanted to acquire education and above all to live freely, she decided to escape from her community. Monica now lives and studies in Sweden and wishes to become a lawyer in order to advocate for women and children rights around the world. She talks about her challenges and her hopes for the future.

 

 

Many young girls out there are victims of forced marriage and abuse. I am one of them. My story seems to have a very pathetic beginning, but sometimes God can take one through hell to heaven. I grew up in a large family of 16 children. Because my father could not pay his debt, I was forced to marry one of his creditors, a 50 years old polygamous and barbaric man. Every day and every night, I suffered from serious psychological and physical torture.  I was a victim because I was a woman. Being a woman in my community is somehow a crime.  The young girls of my community don’t have the right to education nor to choose their own husbands. We are all considered as objects and we are treated as objects.

 

I always wanted to earn an education, something very impossible in my community. Because of my zeal to achieve my objectives, I had to flee away from slavery and oppression. I had to struggle despite all the persecutions I faced from my community even my family rejected me. I was left on my own, a single abused girl in a hostile world.

 

I arrived in Sweden two years ago and I discovered a very cold climate, cold not because of the weather but because of the people’s temperament. Many people seemed not to understand the conditions of refugees and the obstacles they have faced.  Determination, hard work and a true sense of purpose has been my cradle. As a minor living in a foreign country, it’s never easy. I had to adapt myself to my new environment by learning a new culture and language. I had to understand that I am living in a new cultural environment . In a nutshell, the cultural shock was my greatest obstacle. However, nothing good comes easy, success comes through self-sacrifice and relentless hard work and dedication. Today I look at life from a positive perspective, the challenges and obstacles made me a bold and courageous person. People may tell you, you cannot do this, or you cannot do that, but at the end of the day, it’s your opinion and what you think about yourself that matters.

 

I am young, I am strong, I am an independent woman and I look forward to advocate for all the young girls and women around the world.

Refugee Day



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