"I started screaming and tried to run out of the hut," she says. – but one of the men found me." She was taken back to his home, held down in front of his family, raped, and taken to be married the next morning.Dazed, she signed the papers, and waited for a moment when she could flee. I just prayed to God, 'Please help me, please...' I went back. " She is crumpled now, her walk halting, her face creased.I wish to God that had happened." Her laugh erupts again, like a muffled scream. But then she says suddenly: "My husband is a good man. All the old women I meet – abductees for a lifetime – insist on this upbeat ending, in almost identical language, after recounting their tales of rape.
After three days, he finally left her alone in the hut. Soon after that I was pregnant, and what could I do? Now many years have passed and I have six children. She stares past me, to where white wisps of cloud are swirling past the bare, bright-red soil.
She ran for miles barefoot back to her family, wanting to return to her life, and to her childhood. "But my father told me that now I had had sex with him, nobody else would want me because I was ruined goods, and I had to go back to him and be a good wife," she says. Nurame has a distant sense of another life, one she will never lead now. I would have been educated and got my own work and lived my own life. I have to be happy – at least I have children; I love them." She adjusts her black bandana and looks down. He is a very good man." She gives a big gap-toothed smile of apparent sincerity.
We have round houses made from mud, and within each home there is a strict division.
One side is for the men, and other is for the women and the animals. I don't know how she survived," she adds, looking down.
But even though she was eight years old, she suspected at once what was happening.
She had heard whispers that, when a girl is considered ready for marriage, a man will seize her, and rape her, and then she must serve him for the rest of her life. But it wasn't her culture: like all the other little girls, she didn't want it.
Nurame was in her bed when she was woken by an angry mêlée.
In her family's hut there were grown men – an incredible number, 10 or more, all in their 30s, all standing over her father, shouting. At night here, where there is no electricity, perfect darkness falls, and everything becomes a shadow-play of barely visible flickers.
As I leave Nurmae, I ask her how she would feel if one of her daughters was abducted. These stories have been sealed away for millennia, behind masks of pain and repression, but sometimes there are moments when history suddenly accelerates – and this is one of them.
Across the fields and huts of this country, a mass rebellion of abductee-brides has broken out over the past decade.
If she tried, she was beaten by her captor, who said good women never speak of such things.