My phone rang at about 6am this morning. I was asleep. I ignored it. Silence. The message tone goes off. Voicemail. Keep sleeping. The phone rings again. I’m annoyed. I answer. I don’t know the person. She asks to speak to me, I say, speaking. She is in trouble and needs help. I’m trying to wake up to pay attention, to listen. I ask if she’s safe right now. She doesn’t understand me. I fail to think of any other way to ask this. My brain is foggy. I ask her where she is. At the train station. The problem is with her husband. Does she need me to get her now? She doesn’t understand. Is she Afghan? Arab? I need an interpreter. I tell her I will ring her back. She says no, you help me, my friend say you help me. Ok, I’m going to help you, hold on. I get an interpreter on the other line, then connect them. She is Arab. She is scared and she ran away from her husband. He is abusive and last night he almost killed her. She has no family here, she doesn’t speak much English. No. No.No police She won’t let me refer her on, she can only trust me her friend says.
And in that moment, all I wanted to do was crawl back in bed and say it’s too much now, it’s too much responsibility, it’s too many people who need, who want. Then reality kicks in, she needs help, now!
By the time my day at work started after 9 this morning, we got her into a refuge and found her a case worker. She won’t talk to them unless I tell her it’s ok. Unless I’m on the phone telling her in a language she doesn’t understand to go on, it’s ok. How do you put so much of blind trust in someone unknown to you? How do you take that trust and not break it? I don’t know how. I have been thinking about her all day, She is ten years younger than I am. She has left her family behind to start a marriage with this man half way across the world. She has lived two years of abuse, two years of hell. What happens now?
I know what happens now, I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want another fucking failed case where we couldn’t protect her. She needs to believe I can help her and I need to believe that we can. unfortunately the reality is different. She either gets sent back home because he’ll cancel her visa or she’ll have to go back to him and suffer his abuse. Either way, she loses. She’s only eighteen years old.
Tonight instead of going to a friends with my family, I’m going to go and take her some food and clothes and see what else she needs. I’m going to communicate with her through body language and sign language and make her feel like she’s not alone. And it breaks my heart and I’ll walk away with another piece of my heart-broken off. It’s not actually about me, I know this. But I need to find enough strength to make her feel strong enough to deal with this. I need to give her enough positivity and love with no words so that she feels a bit at ease.
I feel better now.
Pray for her.