Kassach was just 12 when she was abducted from her town in southern Ethiopia and forced to marry a much older husband. After years of failed runaway attempts, Kassach successfully escaped, seeking a new life, an education, and a new husband.
Her second marriage gave her two children, but when it ended she was left desperate to earn a living. Kassach migrated to Sudan and then Kuwait to find new opportunities to better support her children.
For nine months, Kassach was exploited as a domestic maid in the Middle East. She worked around the clock – cooking, cleaning, and looking after the children. Yet the mistress of the house refused to pay her.
When Kassach finally demanded her pay – explaining she needed to send money home to her children – the family dragged her to the nearby police station.
At the station Kassach was incarcerated and denied food for more than two days. She was then drugged and repeatedly gang-raped by police officers.
When they finally dumped her at a shelter managed by the Ethiopian Embassy in Kuwait, she was suffering severe internal injuries from the rape. She recalls being suicidal by the time the Embassy flew her back to Addis Ababa.
Kassach became pregnant as a result of the rape. She was admitted to a hospital in the Ethiopian capital for treatment of her physical and mental injuries. After months of treatment, Kassach ultimately gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.
Today, Kassach is proud of her two elder children who are both studying at university. Her boy, now 4 years old, is active and healthy. Although she cannot bring back her previous life, she is grateful to AGAR rehabilitation centre for getting her through this difficult time and keeping her alive to care for her children. “I believe that young people can learn from my story,” Kassach says. “There are still people who turn a deaf ear to the risks of going to Middle Eastern countries. I hope my story can help them.”