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September 24, 2014
honor crimes

Gabrielle was 19 when she fell in love for the first time.

When her community in Cameroon discovered she had fallen in love with a girl, they turned on her.

A male acquaintance raped her, telling her it was a punishment for “wanting to go out with girls instead of him.” As a result of the assault, Gabrielle became pregnant. With the support of her partner Adrianna,* she raised her daughter Lucie.*

But the new family couldn’t find peace in Cameroon. Due to her sexual orientation, Gabrielle’s own family members began to assault and beat her, threatening to kill her for her “immoral behavior.” Her father took custody of Lucie, and her family’s abuse continued with impunity. Homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon, and Gabrielle would have been arrested if she reported the crimes against her. Still, she and Adrianna were determined to build a life together.

Despite the adversity they faced, they planned a wedding. As they exchanged rings, the police burst into the ceremony. She was arrested, but escaped amidst the chaos.

She knew that staying in Cameroon would bring death or a life imprisonment.

Gabrielle traveled to the United States to seek refuge. She thought she had found freedom—but she was wrong. Upon her arrival, she was trafficked to a private household, where she was forced to work without pay. She escaped her traffickers and contacted Tahirih, where she was connected with an in-house attorney and petitioned for asylum.

Today, Gabrielle has asylum in the U.S. She hopes to one day bring her daughter Lucie to the United States. She is still healing from trauma she endured, but she is healing with Tahirih beside her.

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

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