CVT Survivor Stories | Center for Victims of Torture

CVT Survivor Stories

Here is a list of all the published stories of former CVT clients.

Many of CVT's former clients share their personal stories of healing and hope publicly, to help create awareness of the atrocities of war and conflict around the world and also of the enormous power of healing. Here is a list of stories of torture survivors who have given consent to share their stories with the public. All these individuals went through counseling at CVT centers in our global locations. Each individual spent time with counselors regarding the decision to share this story, and each participated in a detailed process of informed consent before agreeing to any publication. Names and some details have been changed for safety and to protect identity. Survivor stories are listed alphabetically, by each person's country of origin, where disclosed. You can also see survivor stories here.


A health worker back home, Angelique became a refugee after surviving sexual violence and loss.
Burundian woman, CVT Nairobi

Something changes – whatever the counseling does – it changes you
Burundian man, CVT Kalobeyei

Democratic Republic of Congo

Dina was only a teenager when she was abducted by militia and forced to live with them.

Congolese girl, CVT Nairobi


The girl with the bright eyes. She was barely 12 years old. A child alone in the refugee camp
Eritrean child, CVT Ethiopia

One minute Gebriale was working in his office. The next moment, he was in prison.

Eritrean man, CVT Ethiopia

I could not bring all of my children when I fled Eritrea.
Eritrean woman, CVT Ethiopia

Kidane was beaten so severely in an Eritrean prison, he was unable to work.
Eritrean man, CVT Ethiopia

The Eritrean prison was so dark, Mebratu could not see the others in the cell.

Eritrean man, CVT Ethiopia

Abuses while serving in the military seriously affect a young Eritrean woman.

Eritrean woman, CVT Ethiopia

After fleeing his home, Tesfaye confronted something even more horrifying.

Eritrean teenager, CVT Ethiopia

The Eritrean military tortured Yonas after he tried to escape.

Eritrean man, CVT Ethiopia


Fajer and his wife were living in their home in Iraq with their four children. 
Iraqi man and his family, CVT Jordan

Today I tell people: the truth will set you free.
Iraqi man, CVT Jordan

There were hundreds of dead bodies on the floor.
Iraqi man, CVT Jordan

To sleep, I had to take a sedative. Now, I sleep in complete comfort without using any sedatives.

Iraqi man, CVT Jordan

Saad was a teenager when his younger brother was kidnapped by militias in southeastern Iraq.

Iraqi man, CVT Jordan

Because I am a religious minority, I had no advocates.
Iraqi man, CVT Jordan

Youssef’s name was published on a list of journalists being targeted in Iraq.

Iraqi man, CVT Jordan


Ali Family
Several members of the Ali family suffered amputations by armed fighters in Somalia.

Somalian family, CVT Dadaab

Even after fleeing for his life to Kenya, Khalid says, “I cannot give up.”
Somali man, CVT Nairobi

South Sudan

Now I don’t have thoughts to end my life.
South Sudanese woman, CVT Kalobeyei


I really needed to speak to someone.
Sudanese woman, CVT Jordan

People should know about the violations and the tragedies. I wish that there was justice.
Sudanese woman, CVT Jordan


Bushra’s teenage sons and her husband were arrested in their home in Damascus one night.

Syrian woman, CVT Jordan

The Hadad Family
The U.S. Travel Ban ended any lingering hopes they had of starting a new life after war.
Syrian family, CVT Jordan

Hassan was unrecognizable after his torture, but he found the courage to speak out.

Syrian man, CVT Jordan

The area where I lived with my husband was supposed to be safe, but then the bombing and the shooting started.
Syrian woman, CVT Jordan

Imad was arrested three times in Syria: tortured, hung and beaten.

Syrian man, CVT Jordan

Jana, a ten year-old Syrian girl, was violently grabbed by a man one day.

Syrian child, CVT Jordan

Manal was imprisoned in Syria after she quit her job as a nurse.

Syrian woman, CVT Jordan

They listened to me like a second mother.
Syrian woman, CVT Jordan

After losing his teeth during torture, Nabil was too self-conscious to speak.

Syrian man, CVT Jordan

We were surrounded by snipers; the streets were full of tanks.
Syrian woman, CVT Jordan

After attending a demonstration in Syria, Qassem was imprisoned and tortured.

Syrian man, CVT Jordan

“I was savagely beaten and repeatedly raped,” says Sabeen, a Syrian 24-year-old refugee and torture survivor.

Syrian woman, CVT Jordan

Yasser and Khadija
Soldiers invaded Yasser and Khadija's home in Syria and assaulted them.

Syrian couple, CVT Jordan


CVT makes you feel important. It helps you begin to see yourself as important.
Woman, CVT Gulu

CVT made me realize you as a person are important.
Woman, CVT Gulu

Unnamed Countries in Africa

Adam waited four years for an asylum hearing. Then it was delayed again.
Man from unnamed country in Africa, CVT’s St. Paul Healing Center

The torturers’ words do not limit me anymore.

Man from unnamed country in Africa, CVT St. Paul Healing Center

Jean Baptiste
Jean Baptiste was a chief in his home country.

Man from unnamed country in Africa, CVT Nairobi

After six years waiting for an asylum hearing, Jon feels he’s not fully alive.
Man from unnamed country in Africa, CVT’s St. Paul Healing Center

What is my life for, here without my kids?
Woman from unnamed country in Africa, CVT’s St. Paul Healing Center

Peter was beaten and stoned by his neighbors because he was gay. They wanted to kill him.
Man from unnamed country in Africa, CVT Nairobi

Thomas was tortured multiple times due to allegations about his political beliefs. 
Man from unnamed country in Africa, CVT's St. Paul Healing Center

Unnamed Country in the Middle East

While in custody, Esme was repeatedly raped and beaten.
Woman from unnamed country in the Middle East, CVT St. Paul Healing Center




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