Monessa’s Story

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My father used to abuse me. It began when I was 8, and I didn’t know he was not my real father. Coming from school and being alone with my abuser was worse than seeing my own grave.


That was not the worst. The worst was when he threatened me to death if I shared anything with my mother. Now I know that many people are victims of sexual violence but back then I thought I was alone in this whole world, and this bad secret was like a world in my heart. After years, my mother found out and we both escaped from that hell.


I spent years of isolation in different shelters. My mother left and encouraged me to go with her but I wanted to give up. Honestly, life becomes meaningless once you suffer mental and physical sickness from years of abuse. That was the time I joined the “Empowering Women and Girls Toward Economic Participation” (EWEP) Program with a group of other girls. I was lonely and never thought about myself, “what do I want to become? What are my favorite activities?”.


Due to the many years of rape, I am plagued with daily medical issues. Many times I cried in the trainings because I didn’t see any value in myself. I lost my self-esteem. Many times I thought that it would be my last activity with EWEP after all the trouble I created for them in class, in planning, and in career sessions. Many times I ran to the staff telling them that I couldn’t continue. But they never gave up on me and taught me to never give up too.


EWEP became to me like a lamp in darkness that helped me from falling. I found a new hope to stay at the shelter and started doing some good things for myself. I participated in trainings, counseling and courses. Now I go to school regularly and I am interested to continue. I feel that my vulnerability has decreased and I like the new confidence and strong side of me. I started a new life and I am very much interested to study, continue school and learn new things.


My life is saved and I feel safe, and my priority is to study and develop in life, which will enable me to understand all things. Now I know that I have value, my life has value. I have the right to live and right to make decisions.