She Prays for Death Daily, Doesn't Love the Baby in Her Arms

Rohingya rape survivors share their stories with the AP
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2018 2:40 PM CDT
First Came the Rapes, Then Came the Babies
In this Tuesday, June 26, 2018, photo, "M" sits in her shelter, as she carries her crying baby boy who had awoken from his sleep, in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

First the media reported on the rapes. Now, more than 10 months later, the babies. Writing for the AP, Kristen Gelineau profiles several Rohingya Muslim women who were raped by Buddhist soldiers in Myanmar and became pregnant; one is just 13. It's a fate seemingly just as bad as death for some, as "their community often views rape as shameful, and bearing a baby conceived by Buddhists as sacrilege," writes Gelineau. Such is the case with a woman identified as M, who like the other profiled women fled Myanmar and is in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. She says she prays daily for death to come to her. She was attacked by six men in August as she fled her home with her 2-year-old son, who was strangled to death; each man raped her, a truth she hid from her husband out of fear, until, four months later, she knew she had to tell him of her pregnancy.

His reaction was one of blame and rejection. "You are useless to me," he said, explaining he could never have sex with her again and asking if he could marry someone else. He ultimately agreed to stay, but ignores her, is gone from morning to midnight, and sleeps apart from her. She decided to keep the baby: As her only son, she hopes he might care for her in her old age. But she doesn't love him and didn't even give him a name until she was instructed to. "I am always depressed," she says. "My husband doesn't love me. I want to die as soon as possible. My life is meaningless." Read the full story for more, including the account of a 13-year-old and another woman who opted to have an abortion. (Read more Longform stories.)

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