Roath’s Story

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Can You Hear Them? (Carrie)

Raoth is 14 years old, she lives in a poor family with 7 other siblings. Her father had recently died of AIDS. The family were struggling to get enough food to survive. Roath’s mother was offered some money by the local ice seller for Roath to go and work for him, glad of the money she agreed. Roath started her new job, but didn’t realise that the ice seller was a pimp. He sent her that day to a man who raped her. Roath was a virgin. That afternoon she was forced to have sex with 7 men. This went on for a few weeks.

Roath ran away and found help. A human rights organisation found a safe place in a centre for trafficked children. As part of her programme of care and recovery, Roath came to an Arts Therapy group run by the Ragamuffin Project with other girls from the centre who had had similar experiences. At first Roath was silent and reluctant to communicate with anyone. Slowly she began to feel safe in the group as she realised there were others who had similar experiences to her. The Arts Therapist suggested the group created their own song. Each person chose a few words to add to the song. Raoth’s words were ‘freedom and power inside’. Roath was surprised at her choice of words for the song as she felt so distressed and fragile. The Therapist suggested to the group that the song could inspire a dance. Roath’s line became the point in the dance where everyone changed from a state of despair into a place of hope as the group shouted ‘power inside’ punching the air with their fists as if breaking through a cage into open skies. Roath laughed. Like the opening of a flower, the Arts, and the support from the group enabled Roath to speak again. She discovered she was not alone and she began to find a hope for her life in the future and deal with her very difficult past.