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My fellow Muslims, people who spoke the same language, had the same religious beliefs and lived in the same country, wanted me dead. But an animal- a HYENA- came to my rescue.

The hands-on nature of torture lends it particular power. The ways we can brutalize others are terrifying, and why torture is so corrupting of individuals and societies. Sometimes torture is used to attack those seen as “other” – a different faith, different ethnicity, and different sexual orientation. But in this story, one survivor describes his shock that his torturers shared his language and his faith. It is the very personal nature that can destroy a survivor’s trust in humanity. Judith Twala, MA, CVT psychotherapist and trainer in Dadaab, relays this story of a torture survivor.

The eigth session our group therapy covers the stories of survival. Among the many survivors I have listened to, the story below touched me in a very unique and special way.

“I was born in Somalia, and when war broke up in Somalia I was among the many men who went through very painful experiences. I was beaten and kicked with heavy shoes by the Al Shabaab guys. Blood oozed from all the openings in my body and I felt very weak. These guys’ intention was to leave me dead or nearly dead. Read the full story here.