Shortly after the release of dozens of girls from islamist militant organization Boko Haram, it was reported last year that Nigerian officers sworn to protect the survivors had raped and assaulted the teens and women. After several failed investigations, the assaults have continued.
In a feature story for The New York Times Friday (Dec. 8), Falmata recalled her nightmare that never seemed to end. The 14-year-old shared how she broke away from the terrifying grip of Boko Haram’s captivity where she was repeatedly raped by fighters, and fled to a refugee camp.
That same night, she was raped repeatedly by security officers meant to protect these victims of war. “They did it one after another,” she recalled. “I’m not even sure those two knew about each other.”
Falmata shared how her ordeal with Boko Horam began when she was in primary (elementary) school. While caring for her ill mother, militants barged into her home, abducted her and forced her into marriage. Her pain continued for three years and into her time with the Nigerian officers, who abused their power.
Falmata wasn’t the only one–at least 7,000 women and girls are victims of Boko Haram’s sexual violence, the United Nations points out. With camps overflowing and supplies at a limited flow, officers have reportedly forced incoming women and girls to trade sex for food.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari promised to investigate the allegations and ordered new measures to protect the victims.
Falmata made her escape yet again. This time it’s real as she now lives with her grandmother with hopes to become a lawyer, representing the powerless.
Read the piece, in full, here.