Cambodian teenager Morakot is 17 years old. She loves dancing with her friends and is set on becoming a famous fashion designer. Morakot has many dreams for the future and a deep commitment to bringing them to life. She’s funny, driven and resilient. Morakot is also a survivor of sexual abuse.
After her father left when Morakot was a baby, her mother remarried. Before Morakot had turned ten her stepfather started to sexually assault her. He warned her that if she told anyone he would kill her. At 15, the young girl fell pregnant to her abuser. She knew she wouldn’t be safe if her stepfather found out, so she went to live with her auntie and grandmother. She didn’t tell them who the father of her baby was.
When she was seven months’ pregnant, Morakot was taken to hospital in terrible pain. She lost her baby, and nearly her own life. It was at this point that Morakot told her auntie about the years of abuse she had suffered. Morakot wanted justice. Her auntie and grandmother didn’t have the means to file a formal complaint, so they contacted Hagar.
Hagar helped Morakot file a complaint with the police, and provided her with case management and counselling. Her case manager Sophea found her a place in an emergency foster home, and then helped her move into a shared house with other survivors, where Morakot could be independent but still supported. There she met others with similar experiences, and felt empowered by them.
Hagar also worked with Morakot to find a way of supporting herself. She remembered how much she used to love watching her auntie sew, and decided she’d like to do that. Hagar helped Morakot to find a tailoring apprenticeship and she now feels she’s in her dream job.
But Morakot’s dreams go far beyond where she is now. She wants to become a fashion designer and make clothes for people all over the world. She likes listening to music and joining in with community dancing by the riverside in the evenings.
Her advice to others is to believe in their future. “The past is the past and there are good things to find in the future. People who feel like they are not good enough, they need to know that they are,” she says. “I am proud of myself because I’m successful in my job. Now, I feel loved by Hagar. I’m proud to feel loved. When I reflect on what people have said, I feel loved. I feel proud because I can get better at all that I’m doing.”