Mental health: Amena's story

Sixteen-year-old Amena (not her real name) is from Narsingdi, Bangladesh.

When she was 11-years-old, Amena on her way home from school when was kidnapped and gang raped by four boys.  She reported the assault but no action was taken. Traumatized, she stopped going to school and would not speak to anyone but her family.

Five years later she married, but when her husband’s family found out about the assault they taunted and verbally abused her, causing her further trauma and distress. Within seven months, she was divorced.

Amena experienced chronic depression. She felt numb and was unable to sleep. Every time she wanted to forget her past, the people around her reminded her of it.

She wanted to stand up and be independent but struggled. Although her family members were supportive and tried to take care of her, they would not let her work outside as they feared for her safety. She could not leave the community as she had no support.

She became more depressed.

Through the British Asian Trust’s mental health programme, Amena was given help and support through our partner SAJIDA providing psychosocial support.

Amena was able to share how she felt, and was listened to. She learnt positive coping techniques and was taught about self-care.

Before taking part in the programme and getting support, Amena was not aware of how her mental health was impacting on her, or the services available to her.

She is now determined to be independent and trying to secure a job. She is also considering options for taking legal actions against her perpetrators.