South Sudanese-born Miss World contestant speaks out about rape

SBS article | 21st April 2017

Model Adau Mornyang has a harrowing tale of rape and neglect, but wants some good to come from the re-telling.

On January 2, 2012, a 17 year old Ms Mornyang turned to two male friends after she separated with her boyfriend.  ‘I was heartbroken. I turned to them as usual for support,’ she revealed. She said the men pulled out a bottle of alcohol and said ‘This will solve all your problems, you’re going to forget about him and you’re going to be happy.’  ‘One of them held the bottle to my mouth and I took it in and I drank it. I actually felt relaxed. I felt happy,’ she said. Then Ms Mornyang blacked out.  ‘What I remember was I was on a concrete floor and I could hear the boys talking among them as I lay there in shock,’ she said. ‘I knew what was about to happen but I couldn’t move – my body just shut down. ‘They both struggled to spread my legs. One of them had to hold my leg while the other did his business’.

Community leaders have applauded the courage of Ms Mornyang, a South Sudan-born Miss World Australia finalist, for speaking out about her ordeal, however this support has not always been there for her. Ms Mornyang said that after she reported the rape to police, she suffered bullying and harrassment from her community and later dropped the charges for fear of retribution. “It got to the point where people said to me, ‘Don’t try to ruin their lives’. They said ‘Why did you try to set them up?’’.

In light of everything, Ms Mornyang said she hoped to use her ordeal to highlight the need for cultural change in response to sexual assaults.

“It is never your fault and you can never ask for rape,” she said. “I want to shed a light on that from my community that we need to stop putting it under the rug.”

Mr Mornyang said there needed to be less secrecy in order to “encourage those who have something happen to them whatever, to speak up” and said she hoped to tackle the stigma around rape and sexual assault and would use her Miss Australia quest to promote awareness.

“It’s not okay because so many young girls and young women are suffering in silence, who are told to be quiet or are being blamed’.

To read a full article and watch the video published by SBS, click here

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