It was a Friday night and I already had permission from my dad to go to our church dance with my sister and cousin. We didn’t have a ride so we went somewhere else instead. My younger sister and cousin hung out with our friends while I was talking with my boyfriend. It was already late at that time and my dad called and said that he is so angry that we weren’t home. He said he was waiting for us with a bunch of power cords. We were too frightened to go back so we decided to sleep over at my friend’s house.

He kept on calling and threatened us that he’ll find us and cut our heads off. I was so afraid, I ignored his calls. But he called my cousin’s phone and convinced us to come back home saying that he won’t punish us anymore.

We went home but as soon as I got out the car, I got the feeling that he was lied. I walked in the house and saw a bunch of power cords in the living room. He beat us so hard with the cords that the neighbours could hear us crying. Then he locked us in a room and continued the beating. He burned all my clothes, cut my hair and smashed my phone. Afterwards I wasn’t allowed to go out of the house anymore or to any other church youth functions.

I was so afraid and felt that my life was worthless. So I ran away and stayed with my boyfriend at his house and we thought that getting married was the answer, but then again it wasn’t, so his family took me back to my father. I didn’t want to stay at home anymore because my father was so tough on me not allowing me to go anywhere. My cousin and I decided to go and look for our own life – that’s when I met a reverend and he helped us. He took us to a lawyer and the lawyer referred us to the centre.

I was so happy that someone was actually paying attention to me and listened to what I had to say. Right now I am under the protection of the centre which I find very helpful and supportive. At first I cried and felt lonely because I missed my friends. But later on after hanging with the other clients I was happy and very safe.

So I just want my fellow youth mates to know that there is still a chance when you feel worthless. Help is there – it’s just a matter of believing in yourself and having the courage to go and look for help despite what your friends might think of you. Whenever you feel afraid and lonely and can’t think of what to do anymore the centre is a very welcoming place for you to go and seek help and support from.