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Haven where lives are restored

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Roogy’s life was changed forever by the gang of 15 men who raped her and then forced her father to have sex with her.

Roogy’s life was changed forever by the gang of 15 men who raped her and then forced her father to have sex with her. The trauma was compounded by two men who befriended her, after she fled to the bush, before they too attacked her. But thanks to the compassion and kindness of a handful of strangers in a foreign land her life has been restored with a future full of hope. The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture opened its doors in the North West in November 2003. Already 82 lives blighted by torture in the world’s most dangerous places have started the healing process at the centre in Salford. According to Jude Boyles, the project’s coordinator, the charity decided to open its first base outside London in response to the government’s policy of dispersing asylum seekers and refugees around the country, especially in the North West. A similar centre opens in Glasgow in the autumn. Jude is one of two full time staff who work with a team of 10 volunteer counsellors – later this year several doctors will be giving voluntary medical services. Referrals come from social workers, lawyers, GPs and other asylum seekers. “It is very difficult, we are able only to see a small proportion,” said Jude The emphasis is on counselling but support is also given for asylum applications, especially the medical evidence needed. “We may be the first people they have told their full story to,” said Jude. “It is very important for people who have suffered these traumas to know they are believed.” Rugaitu Mansaray (known affectionately to staff as Roogy) arrived at the centre in 2003 having fled Sierra Leone three years earlier. “My town was attacked and I was raped by 15 rebels who forced my father to have sex with me.” She fled to the bush with her daughter. “I met two men. At first they were very nice to me but said if I did not have sex with them they would kill me.” After this ordeal she ran away with her daughter until a kindly British journalist rescued her and got her on a boat out of the capital Freetown. Good Samaritan Even that trip was traumatic as another boat, just behind and full of people fleeing for their lives, sank with the loss of everyone on board. When she made it to London, a stranger took her to a fast food restaurant and bought her some food, promising to return later. He never came back, but another kind stranger gave her bed and breakfast. Even now she wishes she could find the mystery Good Samaritan who came to her rescue in a strange city. ‘Going mad’ “I wish I could see him right now,” she said. Roogy struggled with the pain and trauma locked inside her until her lawyer referred her to the centre in Salford. “When I first met Jude it was difficult for me to explain what happened. “But I think the way Jude was talking I knew I had met someone I could talk to about what happened to me back home. “It really helped me because I thought I was going mad. Asylum appeal “I was crying a lot with my daughter. I had lots of problems in my life, my blood pressure, money, other things.” The transformation has helped heal the emotional scars and given her hope for the future. “I think I have a future here in Britain. My English has improved, I have been to college, I have done other courses and now I am looking forward to going to university.” She has not been able to find out any news about her parents back home and despite medical evidence compiled by the foundation, her application for asylum has been refused. Her legal team is now preparing for an appeal.(Source: BBC News: July 2004)

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Posted On: 9 July, 2004
Modified On: 5 December, 2013


Created by: myVMC