Brian Sokol/UNICEF

Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh

Shofika [name changed to protect her identity] in a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar. It was a typical working day in Myanmar's Rakhine State for Shofika, who was then fourteen, before the soldiers came. 'I was grinding chilies when the military came to my area,' she said. 'They started to shoot at random. 'My mother went out of the house. She told me to get ready and lock the doors. I was doing that when the soldiers entered on our yard. Two of them raped me.' The husband of Shofika, a former child bride, was killed in the attack. After the assault, the soldiers moved on, leaving Shofika to gather her clothes outside of her house. She put them on and began her escape from Myanmar, at one point even swimming across a river. 'After crossing it I took shelter in a house where I met my mother. We stayed there for 15 days before making our way to Bangladesh.' One month after her arrival in Bangladesh, Shofika discovered that she was pregnant because she no longer was having her periods. 'After three months I went to a clinic and the doctor told me that I was pregnant,' she said. At first she wanted to end the pregnancy, but the doctor and nurses advised her not to because it could have damaging health consequences for her. She has since resigned herself to becoming a mother at the age of fifteen. Despite the stigma of carrying a child while no longer having a husband, she has shown considerable bravery in twice visiting a clinic for prenatal checkups. This is a bold step that many pregnant sexual assault survivors have been unable or unwilling to do.

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Brian Sokol/UNICEF
Cox's Bazaar
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3750 x 5000 pixels
31.75 x 42.33 cm (300 dpi)
12.5 x 16.67 inch (300 dpi)
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