I could either be a woman or a girl, but all the same, I have been hurt. I can easily pretend that I am a normal and happy person, but sometimes I cannot hide from the facts, these facts that some days show through my withdrawn demeanor, or can appear on my skin as bruises on my arm, or a variety of cuts and burns. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m embarrassed, so I hide the hurt.
I am a woman.
I am a housewife with a beautiful family.
Behind closed doors, my husband is not the perfect man everyone thinks he is.
Whenever I challenge his authority, he gets upset and beats me.
I am a woman, but I feel like a girl.
I was walking home from work in Cambodia, when I was kidnapped by a group of men.
Behind closed doors, I am a sex worker. I was trafficked to Thailand and they forced me into this new life. I hate having to do this, but they have all my documents and have threatened to expose my illegal stay unless I do what they tell me to. I miss my children and I feel trapped.
I am a woman.
I am a domestic worker living in Singapore.
Behind closed doors, my employers are not the kind family everyone thinks they are.
Whenever I make a mistake, M’am pinches my ears and calls me stupid. Once, she burned my arm with a hot iron. The young children see this, and treat me the same way, showing me no respect.
I feel like I’ve lost my dignity.
I am a girl.
I was a happy-go-lucky-girl and almost eleven years old. My brother and I were walking through the forest, on our way to sell our handicrafts, when we were stopped by a group of military men. They took me away from him and while he shouted for them not to hurt me, they tied him up as he knelt and screamed for me. They made him watch as they raped me.
They did this for three days and almost killed me.