Caroline discovered government corruption and felt she had to expose it, because of this she was targeted and tortured by the government. Eventually, she was able to escape and fled to the UK. Read her story.
Blog by Caroline*
"I grew up in a good family. I studied, I went to university, I graduated and got a good job. “At the time I was working, I had a good life. After work I used to go to local restaurants with my friends, I used to travel a lot, and I loved swimming.
"But, I encountered problems. It is those problems that made me flee the country.
"It is very difficult to recall those moments. It is all so painful. With everything that I was subjected to, there were times that I felt it would be better if I could just disappear from the face of the earth. It was just unbearable."
Caroline couldn’t relay this the rest, it was too painful. She discovered government corruption and felt she had to expose it, because of this she was targeted by the government and lost her job. She started working for a charity that promoted equality and justice, but again the authorities came after her. She was beaten by army soldiers, raped and tortured. Eventually, she escaped and came to the UK.
When I first arrived here I was scared. I feel safe in this country now. I could never go back to my home country because of everything that is happening. I am very grateful.
"When I first arrived here I was scared. I feel safe in this country now. I could never go back to my home country because of everything that is happening. I am very grateful. When I first landed in this country, I applied for asylum. I was very traumatised. Thanks to Freedom from Torture, today I am sitting here.
"I am not allowed to work because I am claiming asylum and I don’t have a lot of money. I am not used to this life. You have nothing to do, nowhere to go.
"I used to get money from the Home Office, about £36 a week and from that money you needed to feed yourself, to clothe yourself, to pay for your transport and for people like me, you can’t stay at home, you need to go out and try to change your mood, lift and lighten your mind. The money we got from the Home Office really wasn’t sufficient. I didn’t have shoes, Freedom from Torture got me shoes.
"I was also referred to another local charity, it was a place I used to go to try and get some clothing, some clothes and some shoes. I was able to go there and choose what I thought I might like, but when you go home and put them on, you realise they are too tight or the shoes too small.
"You know it is quite hard to move from a life where you are able to provide for yourself and do the things you want to do, and become completely useless, not being able to fulfil your basic needs.
I also like this singing in Church. People say I am a very good singer. When I sing I forget all my troubles and I feel happy.
"I am a Christian and a Catholic - it gives me hope. When I go to Church after mass, I feel very comfortable. In our practice, in Catholicism, after Mass, there is this gathering and people have coffee. I like when I go to Church; I like the exchange. I don’t know whether it is part of Catholicism but people never get into deeper subjects, they don’t ask you personal questions. We just talk about Church and I feel comfortable.
"I also like singing in Church. I sing outside of Church too. People say I am a very good singer. When I sing I forget all my troubles and feel happy. I have even sung in Parliament with the Citizens of the World Choir. That was special."
*Names have been changed to protect people's identities.
We want to make as much noise as we can this Refugee Week because we want to live in a country that is certain torture is always wrong. A place that believes in compassion and fairness. A place that welcomes people who have survived torture.
If you share this vision, stay tuned for our social media activity and sign the declaration to make the UK #ASafePlace this Refugee Week.
The UK has a proud tradition of offering safety to people fleeing torture and persecution. But times are uncertain and these values are under threat. It's time to take a stand. Will you sign our declaration and join us?