If you want to support refugee women on Nauru, let us speak | Mina Taherkhani

I escaped a violent husband and father in Iran to come to a country which claims to uphold women’s rights. All I have experienced is terror and panic

I am Mina Taherkhani. I’m 35 years old. I escaped from violence to seek peace and freedom. I’ve been in the detention centre in Nauru for over three years, where Australian people wouldn’t even keep their animals.

I was yearning for justice in a country which claims to uphold women’s rights but all I have experienced is terror and panic. Systemic violence keeps us in Nauru and it seems our pain has become very good business. We just asked for support and a safe place from the government but what they gave us was a hell called Nauru.

Do you know why UNHCR or even the Red Cross come to Nauru every time a tragedy happens? Why do people set themselves on the fire front of UN? Because they remind us how human rights is a big business in this country and there is no real action.

I am survivor of rape. At the age of four I was raped by my step-sister’s son. Afterwards, despite being a little girl, my family put the blame on me and I was abused physically. I was forced to marry and the abuse from my father changed to abuse from my addicted husband. I couldn’t accept all the torture and humiliation and I fled Iran.

For a long time, I couldn’t sleep properly. I live in a tent which is only secured with a door of plastic. All night I feel guards walking around my head. Security guards are supposed to protect us, however they torture us and behave like we are their slaves. One of them stared at me and held his penis and pretended he was having sex with me. I asked the other officers to look at the footage and see how the guard had harassed me, but they claimed they don’t keep camera recordings.

The government has enough tools to suffocate us. If you would like to support us, please, please take off your hands from our mouth. If Australia would like to support us, please make an opportunity for us to talk to the community.

This is an edited transcript of a speech given at the Diaspora Symposium: Refugees and Asylum Seekers’ Discourse at NSW Parliament House on 11 October.


Mina Taherkhani

The GuardianTramp

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