The Autobiography Project

Your Autobiographies

Fouzia Musse's Autobiography (submitted 5/16/06)

I used to coordinate UN programs for victims of violence in refugee camps. Rape was used like ethnic cleansing in Somalia, East Africa. Most who fled were Darots, my clan, but both sides have been inflicted with it, because when the other person captures, he will do similar things to the women, to subjugate and humiliate the other clans.

My first arrival at the refugee camp, I was escorted from the airport and immediately two cases came on: "Where are you? You have to come here!"

One was an elderly lady, in her forties, Bantu from southern Somalia. Her whole family were there--her husband, their relatives, her children... She was six or seven months pregnant. When I sat down she was there, but the women wanted to give her a warm bath, so she had to get up and I continued the conversation with her husband, not with her. They accepted what happened. They could not change it. She was raped.

The night before, their section of the refugee camp was raided by bandits. They took all the refugees' food rations and made the women carry it, made them walk in the nighttime into the bush. They walked, walked, the women could not tell where they were going, and when they got far away they were gang-raped. They were not released until dawn.

After they were examined and discharged from the hospital, early that same morning, they had to walk back. So--disappointment, anger--very, very difficult. The older woman had a warm reaction from her community. The other, the beautiful young woman, I had to ask for her, because she was by herself in a small place, in a house. Her husband had rejected her. He refused to do anything with a woman who was raped.

Questions?  Contact Nicola Twilley at 215.545.3870.  Media contact: Kim Rothwell, 215.790.7837.
Design: Stack Design. Photography: Michael Ahearn.
Web design: HiRES Graphics
© 2006. All rights reserved.

Home | Get Started | Get Help | Franklin's Autobiography | Your Autobiographies | Press | Ben Franklin 300