Sunday, 7 May 2017

Boko Haram released some schoolgirls

did it?
I doubt they are "schoolgirls" any more. After three years in captivity they will not be the hopeful young girls they once were. They will be changed - and not for the good.
They will have been scarred for life. It doesn't matter how strong they were to start with they will not be the same now. 
When they were kidnapped I can remember the Whirlwind saying to one of the boys who lives in the same street, "It's not like me going to boarding school. They don't get to talk to their parents or their brothers and sisters. I get to talk to my dad at weekends and they don't."
The incident upset her. Anything like that still upsets her. She is now of an age where not having a mother matters more than ever. It doesn't matter how much other people try and "mother" her it isn't the same.
So what on earth has it been like for these girls knowing that they have, in all likelihood, still got a mother who loves them and misses them in only the way that a mother can? Did they over the three years learn to live with their possibly permanent loss? Did they "convert"? What do they now believe?
The idea of "debriefing" hundreds of girls and others, of helping them return to a "normal" life is something that the media gives very little attention to. I suspect the authorities won't be giving it a lot of attention either. They simply don't have the resources. 
These girls are going to get questioned of course. It may well be quite kindly done but information will be demanded of them. It is unlikely though that there are sufficient psychologists and psychiatrists and social workers and simply the funds to give them the attention they need. Their behaviour will have been changed. They will view the world with suspicion. Unless the culture changes dramatically it is unlikely that they will marry. If they get work it is likely to be menial. They will be a drain on the resources of their families. 
The fact that they were boarding at school suggests that they were among the brightest and best students in the area. They were the girls who might have led their communities into the 21stC. 
I am glad that more of the girls have been freed. I hope the rest are but I wonder about their futures. The scars of rape, of forced "marriage", and of religious "conversion" are going to last and last.

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