Lakech (name changed for confidentiality) is a 16 year old girl who currently shoulders the responsibility of assisting in the household to support herself, her mother, and four younger siblings. Her mom often experienced bitter domestic violence undeservedly, due to her father’s drinking problem. Over a year ago her father kicked her mom out of the house with 5 children, stemming after years of arguments. They had nowhere to go as a complete unit, so the siblings were divided amongst family and Lakech moved in with her aunt. She decided that finding work in her aunt’s village would be the best opportunity for her to support her family. Traveling home after running errands with a male family friend one day, she was forced into an abandoned hut, and was raped by him. At 15 years old, she was raped by someone she trusted. He covered her mouth so she couldn’t scream, and then left her alone in the hut after raping her. Lakech later found out that her aunt arranged the rape, and was paid by the young man to have his way with her! She confided in her grandmother, and the case was reported to the police but it was declined because there were no witnesses to the crime! She was emotionally disturbed for many weeks, but it was during this time that a community member recommended she seek help from the local group of women who are assisted by a local NGO called SWDA. After joining the organization, she claims that the life skill training was the most beneficial, helping her to cope with her emotions after being raped. She also enjoyed the business skill trainings. The trainings were eye openers for my future life.” says Lakech.
“She said, “I learned how to do business and lead my life in a better direction; now I dream of a different future. I got 2600 birr ($128) seed money from SWDA & used it to buy two sheep and a goat. I am now also selling vegetables and other household essentials.”
She is still upset that her aunt sold her into abuse, while taking on the role as her guardian. This amazingly strong young woman has somehow been able to put the abuse aside- she sits, speaks, and gestures similarly to a CEO during a board meeting; and is focused on building a better life for herself and her mother. She will keep working hard on the small business that she started (without the luxury of advancing past the 2nd grade), and eventually wants to grow the business & own a store.
Say no to #VAWG! Extend your help to girls like Lakech through organizations that voice for the voiceless.