A Turkish girl saved after 102 days of suffering at the hands of her sexual abuser has started a new life with her parents in the western province of İzmir.
The 14-year-old girl, identified only as Ebru, was abducted in the Olgunlar village of the Kiraz district, which made headlines in February when it emerged that girls were being sold for marriage.
Saved after 102 days in captivity and with the help of her father, identified only as Abdullah, she is now living a completely different life.
Ebru, who was the only girl going to high school in her village, was abducted by a 22-year-old man, identified only as Hüseyin, on Dec. 16, 2016.
Contrary to the majority of the fathers in Kiraz, Abdullah didn’t bow down to the “tradition” of minors being abducted for marriage. He was determined to find her daughter.
Upon the devoted father’s cooperation with the media, the district governor’s office, police, the provincial governor’s office and the gendarmerie forces, Ebru was found 102 days after being abducted.
“My daughter won’t marry Hüseyin even if she gets pregnant. She will continue her education and will be a nurse or a doctor. I will fight to make sure Hüseyin gets the harshest punishment not just for Ebru but to prevent other girls from getting hurt,” Abdullah told daily Hürriyet on Dec. 11.
After being rescued, Ebru, however, didn’t file a complaint against Hüseyin as she feared retaliation, causing him to be released only after 45 days in jail.
But after receiving psychological and family support, Ebru applied to the Ödemiş Public Prosecutor’s Office and filed a complaint against Hüseyin three weeks ago.
The sexual abuser then sent intermediaries to the family in order to avoid being sent to jail. Through the intermediaries, Hüseyin made a marriage proposal to Ebru and offered to give her money in order for her to withdraw her complaint.
The family rejected all the offers from Hüseyin, and Abdullah decided to move from their village after leaving his sole source of income, a tobacco field, behind.
Ebru is now living in another Aegean district with her five siblings and parents. The first thing her father did was to enroll her in a vocational high school in their new neighborhood.
“Our new house needed to have the best conditions for our children. I found this house, which is close to their school and a park, after searching for a month,” Abdullah said, adding that paying rent for the eight-member family was difficult, but his determination never ceased.
Abdullah and his wife, Ayşe, now work as cleaners.
“Our only problem is that we don’t have insurance. None of the difficulties I’m experiencing and none of the obstacles in front of me will prevent me from making my children get education,” he said.
While only two children, the youngest and the eldest, in the family aren’t receiving education, Abdullah said he reserved one of the rooms for his children to study.
During the winter, the house is freezing cold, but Abdullah makes sure his children aren’t distracted while studying, so the only heater in their house is in the study room, which means Ebru’s youngest sibling watches cartoons on TV while dressed in layers.
Ebru, meanwhile, said that her future plans are ready.
“Exams are starting. I’m working hard,” she told Hürriyet.
“I want to be someone who does her job in the most perfect way possible. I will heal patients,” she also said.
Abdullah was forced to leave education at a young age due to poverty. Since then, he has vowed to provide a better future for his own children.
“I wanted to continue my education after elementary school, but my father was very poor and couldn’t afford to send me to school. It was then when I decided to make all of my children receive education. The only way for them to not be as ignorant as I am will be the diplomas they will achieve,” he said.
Ebru doesn’t want to talk about the horrors she faced during her 102 days in captivity.
“I was going to be an unhappy person with no financial independence, whose world would be confined to the village and would be working in the fields with a baby in my arms [if I wasn’t saved]. I will receive university education in my new life. I will make traveling plans with my female colleagues and will visit foreign countries. I’ll provide financial support to my family and make sure that my siblings go to school,” she vowed.
Ebru dreams of becoming a doctor, nurse or an emergency medical technician, depending on her university entrance exam results.