Escaping Abuse - Nina's Story
Names are changed for protection in all our articles.
"Many girls in Russia are forced to give themselves to a man to escape starvation and life on the streets."
This quote is from someone we work with and refers to the dangerous situation Nina was in before she escaped her abuser. This is her story.
Nina, was from Kazakhstan and her dad was an alcoholic who beat her mum. She left him while pregnant with Nina, but this meant choosing poverty. They went without essentials and were often starving. Her mum was emotionally distant and she neglected Nina's emotional needs - “I remember mum caring for me practically, but it’s like she wasn’t there and I missed her.” - she said. At school, Nina was bullied and felt like an outcast so withdrew from all relationships. She dropped out of school and at age 15, she went to city in western Russia almost 3000km away by herself. She needed food and a place to live, so chased men in the hope they’d provide her with these basic needs. "I wanted to be needed, by someone, anyone - but lost a bit of myself with every relationship." Barely older than a child, and having had no example on what a good relationship looked like, she ended up with a man 37 years older who abused her. He made her believe she was stupid, that her personality was boring and that she had no value - he reinforced the low self-esteem that the bullying and childhood neglect had instilled in her. She endured physical and sexual abuse from him and they had a son called Vanya. After Vanya was born, her abuser added ‘criticism of her ability to parent’, to his long list of tactics to control and keep her down. She began to drink to forget the trap she was in...
Nina could not leave. She had nowhere to go, and no money to support her son - he was too young for her to work.
- "I endured it all for the sake of housing"
Just when it all seemed impossible, she connected with a local church and they passed on details of the Women's Crisis Centre that was over 1000km away. This was the answer to her prayers. Despite the distance, she ran away, made the long journey and arrived last month.
Nina is 29, Vanya is 3. She is now free from alcohol, has a roof over her head and food in her stomach and NOT at the mercy of an abuser. He is searching for her but here she is safe and can be protected.
In addition to basic needs being provided, and help to recover from addiction, we love hearing about the different ways Alina works with the women to build their self-esteem.
The most important way is through helping them explore faith to understand how precious, valued and loved they are to God - a message that, as you can imagine, Nina’s heart has been crying out to hear.
If you would like to help more women who have escaped such difficult lives, please consider supporting the WCC. You can do this with either a one-off gift or through regular family sponsorship (click to find out more).