This is the first in a series of case studies about the work of the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) in Lesvos. “M” is a young woman and mother from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR). She was forced into marriage at the age of 16 and was subjected to verbal, physical and psychological abuse by her husband. As a member of a political party in opposition to the DCR Government, M’s husband was regularly captured and detained. On one such occasion, M was arrested and imprisoned for 13 days, during which time she was sexually exploited and raped. She eventually fled the DRC and lived in Turkey for two months with other women, all of whom were sexually abused by a man in return for him housing them. When she arrived in Greece in October 2017, she was suffering extreme emotional distress and trauma. M saw a social worker with the GCR and was referred for psychological support services to the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. She was also referred to the UN Refugee Agency as a survivor of sexual violence requiring urgent transfer to mainland Greece in order to access appropriate services and to GCR lawyers. We understand that she will soon be transferred to mainland Greece where she will be able to access legal advice and social care in order to take her claim for asylum forward.
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