Survivor Stories

Cris’s Story

Cris is a 23 year-old man from Zimbabwe where he was a member of a political party advocating for democracy. One night, police came looking for Cris. At 2:00 a.m. they invaded his home, kidnapped Cris and dragged him to prison, where he was tortured.
One day he was inexplicably released from prison, though guards warned him that he would be killed the next time he was imprisoned. Fearing for his life, Cris fled the country and came to the United States seeking asylum.

Though the trauma he suffered made it difficult for him to tell his story—something he would have to do as part of his asylum case—with the help of the counseling services at Center for Survivors of Torture, Cris has been able to fully participate in his legal case. Although it is painful, he is committed to making his story known so that torture may cease in Zimbabwe. Through CST, Cris has also received medical treatment and medication to help with his chronic pain. Although he still suffers from flashbacks,
the counseling he has received at CST has helped him to move forward toward finding his purpose in living again. He is attending college and is excited about his studies. He is learning to trust again. Cris now feels that he is a survivor, that he is not alone in his new country, and that he has much to live for. He has hope.

Kumar’s Story 

Kumar was a small-business owner in Nepal where he had his own delivery truck. He was targeted by Maoist insurgent militia who wanted him to provide financial and material support, and to join their political cause. When he refused to support and join the Maoists, they took his house and his vehicles, kidnapped him, and began systematic physical and psychological torture. Kumar’s condition was so grave that the local newspaper ran a story, with a photo, reporting that he had been killed. Miraculously, he was able to escape to the United States where he requested asylum, but he was put into detention until the U.S. government made sure he had credible fear of returning to Nepal.

Upon release from detention, he was referred to Center for Survivors of Torture (CST) for counseling, medical care and social services. After three months of weekly counseling and medical treatment, Kumar reported fewer nightmares and improved physically, feeling in control of his happiness for the first time in ten years. The U.S. government decided to grant Kumar asylum and after two years of working seven nights a week at a local convenience store, he was able to purchase plane tickets for his wife and daughter to reunite with him in Texas. Kumar and his family currently attend free family therapy at CST, in addition to participating in CST’s English as a Second Language classes.

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