My name is Flore and I am from a humble family from Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast). When I was 17 years old, my life changed. My mum passed away during the 2002 civil war, and then I started a journey that took me far away from everything and everybody that I knew.

After her death, life was difficult for me and my siblings. We barely managed to survive and at the end, I lost all contact with them.

Residents of the refugee centre belonging to the 13 Houses in Seville (Spain)

Then, in 2004, I met the man who would become the father of my children. When the first child was born, a true ordeal began by his side. He used to rape me, beat me, punish me, not to mention the death threats. My life was getting more difficult by the day, I wasn’t safe, and I had nowhere to go. He threatened to kill me if I left him. Our neighbors intervened, but he wouldn’t listen to anybody. I was afraid to report him to the police because of the death threats and I feared not seeing my children again.

In the midst of this violent situation, my second child was born. I had hoped that this would mean a truce, but the violence, threats and insults multiplied. I even fainted and I started to beat the children too. I cried tears of blood, but I was left with no support and our lives were in danger.

One day, I decided to report him to a Human Rights group, but they told they couldn’t do anything against my children’s father. He had good connections with the authorities.

Finally, with the help of an official working for a regional organisation, I was able to leave the country for Morocco. The journey took several days. But he kept threatening with making me return and he forbade me to see my children. After a while, I realized that Morocco didn’t offer me protection against his will and his evil actions. Because of that fear, I decided to cross the sea and go to Spain.

There, by God’s grace, I found the Vincentian Family. They have given me a new life, joy, love, safety, training, a job, a home and a myriad of other small helps. Now I am a cook in the shelter for refugees managed by the Vincentian Family Organisation that belongs to the “13 Houses” Campaign.

Now I live with certain peace and my asylum application is in the second stage. Thanks to the Vincentian Family, I have my residence and work permits, but I still cannot sleep in peace. He keeps threatening me through my children. He took them out of school, he beats them violently and he doesn’t let me speak with them but through a benefactor I try to communicate with them. I still need help for my children. When I left I also left behind a part of me and until they are with me I will keep dying a bit each day.

I am very grateful to God for the support of the Vincentian Family. I pray for so many women attempting to escape from similar situations. And I keep hoping that, one day, my children will be with me, safe from his violence and wickedness.

Source: https://vfhomelessalliance.org/


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