Skip to main content

Survivors Speak

Every survivor of torture and trauma has a unique and moving story. Most of the survivors of torture and trauma that FASSTT agencies work with come to Australia as refugee or humanitarian entrants. National or local conflict often drives displacement. In some cases, government persecution may result in imprisonment and torture for political reasons, which presents a reason to flee the country on release. Typically, our clients have had to flee from conflict, leaving home, possessions, family, friends and country behind, to walk long distances to find a safer place. After this journey, refugees may stay in a refugee camp, sometimes for years, before gaining residency in another country if they are fortunate. The extracts below give some insight into the experiences of survivors of torture and trauma throughout the world.

“I wasn’t tortured. Not like the others around me. I was just hung and beaten for a few days. They tortured others in the camp… They would put barbed wired in a [PVC] pipe and insert it up them. Then they would take the pipe out and leave the barbed wire inside. What suffering!”

Sri Lankan male survivorQuoted from "Never Turning Away", p2.

“I was six years old when my family was murdered. I was in my first year of school, and everyone was afraid. When the killers came we hid under a bridge. My mother had my sister on her back and said she was going to get food for us. I stayed under the bridge with my grandmother and other siblings. When my mother came back to bring food, the killers saw her and butchered her with machetes in front of us. My little sister survived. … the killers came back. They took my father and started to beat him. Others were beaten too and then they started killing everyone with machetes. There was blood everywhere. The biggest problem, even now, is that I have never found the corpse of my father.”

Rwandan female survivorQuoted from "Never Turning Away", p3.

“I was blindfolded and my hands and feet were tied. Sometimes they would use electric cables and give us electric shocks. They would beat us with iron rods after pouring water on our bodies so that it hurts more. They would keep beating us for four to six hours. They hit me on my neck and on my back. One officer jammed a rod in my knee so hard that it’s left a permanent injury in my leg. I was scared of dying. I was scared.”

Syrian male survivorQuoted from "Never Turning Away", p2.