'What happened to me has happened. I can't change it. It is now part of who I am. I can't punish those who did it. But I will do everything in my power to make our stories public, to stop it happening to others, to help people pick up their lives again.
"I got my British passport recently - it was a great day for me. My own country, which I love and hope to return to one day, rejected me. I'm very grateful to be here but more grateful that I'm now involved in something as important as Survivors Speak OUT (SSO)' ~a member of the SSO network
One way that Freedom from Torture works with survivors to speak out is through us, the Survivors Speak OUT network. We are former clients of Freedom from Torture now actively engaged in speaking out about the impact of torture. We do not speak about past experience of torture but instead will tell you that while this has happened to us, our stories are about so much more. They are about leaving home, moving to the UK, getting help but also facing some very real challenges in our daily lives here.
There are about 19 people in the network but we are hoping that as we become stronger so does the number of our members. We are torture survivors from around the world including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka. We speak to many different audiences including to youth audiences at schools and universities, to community based groups as well as to decision makers including John Vine, the independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency.
To find out more about our work, just send us a message or if you have time, Give us a hand!
How to give us a hand...
We want people to write messages of support or myth busting messages about survivors of torture on their hands. It is an easy way to engage with us and just like many survivors bravely speaking out but who are also forced to hide their identity, it does not reveal who you are – it is just your message to us.
It's easy, all you have to do is:
1. Think about what you want to say in your message
2. Write it on your hand
3. Take a picture of your message on your phone or with your camera and send it to us
4. If you want to join Freedom from Torture in campaigning for survivors rights, then join other activists by sending us your name and contact details here.
You can also read our blogs about what it means to be a refugee in the UK.
The Survivor Speak OUT network