Domingas de Araujo Mendonca has said enough.
When Domingas was 17, she was captured by the Indonesian military. She and six other women were tortured daily: stripped and forced to sit in water tanks, given electric shocks, and sexually abused. Only months after she was exiled to Atauro. They were forced to work on a road, the women collecting rocks from the coast as the men broke them up. She remembers, “we had to break our backs to work for food and drink.”
After being released in 1984, she has tried to re-build her life and look after her children by selling plants and flowers, but to further add to her hardship, Domingas was recently evicted from the plot in Dili where she sold plants. She feels her suffering has been forgotten.
Our bitter experiences are unforgettable, but what do we get in return? There is no reward for our suffering, there is no justice for us. I grow and sell flowers in a vacant lot in the centre of town and now I am being evicted. No official has approached us and asked if we already have an alternative, or offered us another empty site to sell flowers. We just accept it and wait until luck is on our side. I feel really disappointed. We sacrificed in vain.