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The Calvary of Julienne

UN Photo/Albert Gonzalez Farran

Aid to the Church in Need - published on 04/11/14 - updated on 06/08/17

“In the four years of our marriage, I knew no happiness in our household. On days that he was not traveling, my ex-husband would come home for lunch. Hearing the sound of his car on approach gave me chills.” 

“It often happened that when he got home he wanted to make love, in always very rough and inappropriate ways, and right where he found me, and he would be extremely brutal.” 

“He said to me openly: ‘You are my pleasure object; you have to do what I want and if you don’t want to, you can leave her and join the nuns. And even those nuns are there just to pleasure the priests.’”

Nonetheless, Julienne remained firm in her faith. “Whenever he was away from home traveling, I would spend two or three days intensely praying to Jesus, beseeching Him to transform my husband and return him to his senses.” 

“I had my Bible and rosary, which I kept hidden where our food supplies were kept, in a part of the house where he almost never went.”

“A year into our marriage, he married a second woman, a Muslim this time. My suffering greatly increased. He did not spend every night in our home; he spent nearly every day with his second wife. He came to me only to satisfy his physical desires and in the brutal way he preferred.” 

“He also began to beat me violently. ‘Your Church has made you silly and a hypocrite,’ he would say. ‘Continue praying to your fake virgin and ask her to help you.’”

Almost five years later, Julienne decided to end the marriage and sought refuge with one of her aunts. “When I had reached my limit and began to risk getting gravely ill, I left him without saying goodbye.” 

“Taking advantage of his nearly always being away from home, I took three months to get ready to separate from this man. With my aunt’s help I escaped and moved in with her in Kigali. I didn’t even tell my parents I fled.”

“My aunt treated me with lots of affection and made sure I received psychiatric care to address my deeply traumatic experiences. Bit by bit, I came back to life, becoming a radiant woman again.” 

“I kept going to Church, now in complete freedom, and renewed my relationship with the sacraments, including Communion, which I had to do without for several years.” 

“A year later I went back to college and I have since graduated. I feel proud, free and independent.”

“Little by little, I have rebuilt my life,” Julienne affirms, “with determination, conviction and a big smile.”

Courtesy of Aid to the Church in Need

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CatholicismMarriageReligious Freedom
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