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October 17, 2016
SURVIVOR OF:
forced marriage, rape

Diana shares her harrowing journey with us as part of the 2016 Bighearted Campaign, which aims to raise awareness and funds to give women and girls a 99% chance of protection from gender-based violence. Learn how Diana’s fight for survival ends in repaying the kindness, and how it all started with supporters like you.

Diana was studying at her city’s University in West Africa when her life as she knew it was upended. To her dismay, her father sold her into a forced marriage with a much older, powerful man within their community.
This wedding ‘preparation’ was like no other.

Against her will, Diana was abducted by the man’s guards and held captive for eight grueling months where she not only starved, but was also beaten, raped, and threatened with female genital mutilation/cutting in ‘preparation’ for her wedding night. Diana felt so very alone. She did not know how to escape this pending marriage, or the daily atrocities to which she was subjected.

Until another woman intervened.

One of the older wives of Diana’s future husband saw how she was being treated and couldn’t stand to see her suffer. She risked her own safety to help Diana escape.

In doing so, the woman showed Diana a kindness she would never forget.

Diana traveled to Mexico and then eventually across the U.S. border, where she was held by immigration officials. Unfortunately, Diana was immediately sent to live in a detention center while she awaited her chance to plead her case for asylum, finding herself once again imprisoned in the fight for her own life.

When she was finally released, she found the Tahirih Justice Center and was touched by kindness once again. Tahirih’s social workers helped Diana find treatment for the terrible medical and mental health wounds caused by her detention here and abroad, while its staff and network of pro bono attorneys prepared her case for asylum.

At long last, the U.S. court system heard Diana’s case and she was finally granted asylum.

With the strong support of Tahirih’s pro bono attorneys and social workers, Diana was able to slowly rebuild her life from a place of safety and strength. Today, she’s facing life on her own terms. She is taking English classes and training to become a hospice worker. She also joined a local church and is reaching out to other community members.

Thanks to her own remarkable resilience, the compassion of a stranger, a dedicated team of professionals, and the generosity of donors across the country who provided needed funding, Diana was able to free herself from a life of violence and start fresh.

Now, Diana is paying these kindnesses forward as she becomes an integral part of her community. Her light will touch many others…

… and it all started with supporters like you.

Donors to our Bighearted Campaign enable Diana to be a survivor — to choose a life free from violence, to heal and to serve others. A donation to Tahirih multiplies four times in impact, by leveraging the services of a dedicated pro bono network. But we are only able to serve one in six who reach out for help.

Please check back soon to find out how you can show Diana, and other women and girls, how big your heart is, and know that your kindness will change a life and shine on to others.

Names may have been changed to protect client privacy and safety. Photo may not depict actual client.

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