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Miriam Ody, Cameroon to Italy

Miriam Ody, Cameroon to Italy
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My name is Miriam; I am 33 years old. I am from Cameroon. I lived there with my husband and my two children in the city of Douala.

In 2013, a woman I knew offered me a job as a nurse in the north of the country. But the job turned out to be with a group of rebels. They beat and raped me, even as I continued my duties as a nurse. For ten months, I had no news of home. They did not speak French.

One night a man who had raped me decided to help me escape. He gave me money and I fled to Agadez in Niger. I had no documents, so for six months I slept in a bus station. I eventually befriended a woman and she helped me get back home.

In Cameroon, my children were living with their grandmother and my husband was in prison. The local government wanted me to help them find the rebel bases; I did not trust them. I decided to flee to Libya. I traveled with my son and daughter, hiding in the back of a truck, so we could not be seen at border crossings.

Eventually we arrived at a house, where five Arabic men told me I was in Libya. They raped me in front of my children. Then they dumped me with my children on the beach in the dark. I lost all our things and our documents. There were hundreds of people on the beach. We were loaded onto a boat. I was crying and hurt.

We were rescued by a boat run by Doctors Without Borders. They took us to Sicily, then Rome.

I take pills to help with the memories. I am talking with a psychologist. I am damaged physically because they beat me on my neck during the rape.

My worry is my children. My daughter is now eight and my son will soon be five. They don’t sleep well. They are not happy. They also go to a psychologist.

I struggle to make ends meet.

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