Trauma, stigma, face girls, women rescued from Boko Haram

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Boko Haram Abductees Recover in Yola, Nigeria

YOLA, Nigeria (AP) -- The taunts wouldn't stop. "Boko Haram wives," the schoolgirls were called because they had been briefly held by Nigeria's Islamic extremists before escaping. The teasing was so relentless that some of the Chibok girls left their town and families.

Their plight does not bode well for hundreds of girls and women recently rescued from months of captivity by Boko Haram, including dozens who are pregnant. After enduring captivity by the militants, the females may now face stigma from their communities.

More scenes from Boko Haram's kidnappings

26 PHOTOS
Nigeria Boko Haram girls
See Gallery
Trauma, stigma, face girls, women rescued from Boko Haram
Children rescued by Nigeria soldiers from captivity from Islamist extremists at Sambisa forest arrive at a camp in Yola, Nigeria, Saturday May. 2, 2015. The first group of nearly 300 Nigerian girls and women released from captivity by Boko Haram were brought by the military to the safety of a refugee camp in the country's northeast Saturday evening. More than 677 females have been released this week according to official reports, as the Nigerian military continues its campaign to push the Islamic extremists out of their last remaining strongholds in the Sambisa Forest. ( AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Women and children rescued by Nigeria soldiers from Boko Haram extremists at Sambisa forest arrive at a refugee camp in Yola, Nigeria Saturday, May. 2, 2015. More than 677 girls and women have been released this week, as the Nigerian military continues its campaign to push the Islamic extremists out their last remaining strongholds in the Sambisa Forest. ( AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Women and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists at Sambisa Forest arrive at a refugee camp by a truck in Yola, Nigeria Saturday, May 2, 2015. They were among a group of 275 people rescued from the Islamic extremists, the first to arrive at the refugee camp Saturday after a three-day journey to safety. The Nigerian military said it has rescued more than 677 girls and women and destroyed more than a dozen insurgent camps in the past week. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A doctor attends to a malnourished child at a refugee camp in Yola, Nigeria Sunday, May 3, 2015, after being rescued from captivity by Boko Haram fighters. Their faces were gaunt with signs of malnutrition but the girls are alive and free, among a group of 275 children and women rescued by the Nigerian military, and the first to arrive at a refugee camp Saturday after a three-day journey to safety. They came from the Sambisa Forest, thought to be the last stronghold of the Islamic extremists, where the Nigerian military said it has rescued more than 677 girls and women and destroyed more than a dozen insurgent camps in the past week. ( AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Fulani Women balance their wares on their head as they walk on the dirt road past a camp were women and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists at Sambisa Forest have taken refuge in Yola, Nigeria Monday, May 4, 2015. ( AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Salamatu Bulama, a lady who claims that Islamist exremists stoned her and others before she was rescued by Nigerian soldiers, as she talks to the media sitting in a clinic at a camp in Yola, Nigeria Sunday, May 3, 2015. Boko Haram fighters stoned some of their captives to death as Nigeria's military approached to rescue the women, some survivors told The Associated Press on Sunday, as some of the released women captives told tragic stories about their time in captivity, for some after more than a year in the hands of Nigeria's homegrown Islamic extremists. ( AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Women and children rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists at Sambisa Forest wait for treatment at at a refugee camp in Yola, Nigeria Monday, May 4, 2015. Even with the crackle of gunfire signaling rescuers were near, the horrors did not end: Boko Haram fighters stoned captives to death, some girls and women were crushed by an armored car and three died when a land mine exploded as they walked to freedom. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Women and children who were rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Boko Haram extremists at Sambisa Forest register their names upon their arrival at a refugee camp in Yola, Nigeria, Saturday May 2, 2015. They were among a group of 275 people rescued from the Islamic extremists, the first to arrive at the refugee camp Saturday after a three-day journey to safety. Nigerian military said it has rescued more than 677 girls and women and destroyed more than a dozen insurgent camps in the past week. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Lami Musa, 27-year-old who says her husband was killed before she was abducted by Islamist extremists, cradles her 5-day-old baby girl at a refugee camp clinic after she and others were rescued by Nigerian soldiers from Sambisa Forest, Yola, Nigeria Monday, May 4, 2015. Even with the crackle of gunfire signaling rescuers were near, the horrors did not end: Boko Haram fighters stoned captives to death, some girls and women were crushed by an armored car and three died when a land mine exploded as they walked to freedom. Through tears, smiles and eyes filled with pain, the survivors of months in the hands of the Islamic extremists told their tragic stories to The Associated Press on Sunday, their first day out of the war zone. "We just have to give praise to God that we are alive, those of us who have survived," said 27-year-old Lami Musa. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Some parents of kidnapped girls from the government secondary school in Chibok, who were kidnapped a year ago, attend a protest in Abuja, Nigeria, Tuesday, April 14, 2015, as some 219 girls remain missing on the first anniversary of the kidnapping by Islamic extremists. President-elect Muhammadu Buhari said Tuesday that "We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown," Buhari said in a statement. "As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them." (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Some parents of kidnapped girls from the government secondary school in Chibok, who were kidnapped a year ago, attend a protest in Abuja, Nigeria, Tuesday, April 14, 2015, as some 219 girls remain missing on the first anniversary of the kidnapping by Islamic extremists. President-elect Muhammadu Buhari said Tuesday that "We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown," Buhari said in a statement. "As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them." (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Young girls known as Chibok Ambassadors, demonstrate in support of the girls kidnapped from the government secondary school in Chibok, a year ago, in Abuja, Nigeria, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Never to be forgotten. The new slogan adopted Tuesday is a sad concession that many believe few of the Chibok girls kidnapped one year ago by Islamic extremists will ever find their way home. On the first anniversary of the day 276 schoolgirls were snatched in the middle of the night as they prepared to write science exams at their boarding school in northeastern Nigeria, President-elect Muhammadu Buhari said he cannot promise to find the 219 who are still missing. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
People march during a silent protest calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped girls of the government secondary school in Chibok, who were abducted a year ago, in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday, April 13, 2015. Nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok were abducted in a mass kidnapping on the night of April 14-15. Dozens escaped on their own but 219 remain missing. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Protesters holds up placards demanding help from the Nigerian government to find the some 219 girls who remain missing on the first anniversary of the kidnapping by Islamic extremists, during a demonstration outside the Nigerian High Commission in London, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. April 14th marks the one year anniversary of the abduction from their school in Chibok, Nigeria, but Nigeria's President-elect Muhammadu Buhari said Tuesday that "We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown." (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
People march on a street during a silent protest calling on the government to rescue the kidnapped girls of the government secondary school in Chibok, who were kidnapped a year ago, in Abuja, Nigeria, Monday, April 13, 2015. Nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok were abducted in a mass kidnapping on the night of April 14-15. Dozens escaped on their own but 219 remain missing. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
FILE - In this file photo taken Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, people demonstrate calling on the Nigerian government to rescue girls taken from a secondary school in Chibok region, in the city of Abuja, Nigeria . Days after Nigeria's military raised hopes by announcing Islamic extremists have agreed to a cease-fire, Boko Haram is still fighting and there is no word about 219 schoolgirls held hostage for six months. Officials had said talks with Nigeria's Islamic extremist rebels would resume in neighboring Chad this week, but there was no confirmation that negotiations had resumed by Wednesday. (AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga File)
Young girls known as Chibok Ambassadors, carry placards bearing the names of the girls kidnapped from the government secondary school in Chibok, a year ago, during a demonstration, in Abuja, Nigeria, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Never to be forgotten. The new slogan adopted Tuesday is a sad concession that many believe few of the Chibok girls kidnapped one year ago by Islamic extremists will ever find their way home. On the first anniversary of the day 276 schoolgirls were snatched in the middle of the night as they prepared to write science exams at their boarding school in northeastern Nigeria, President-elect Muhammadu Buhari said he cannot promise to find the 219 who are still missing. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
In this photo taken Wednesday, April 8, 2015, soldiers escort Hassan Usman, a forced laborer for Boko Haram who had his hand amputated by the Islamic extremists for allegedly stealing fuel in Gwoza, Nigeria, a town newly liberated from Boko Haram. Each day brings new reports of atrocities, with mass graves being discovered in towns seized back from the militants who had set up a so-called “Islamic caliphate” across a great swath of northeast Nigeria. Boko Haram's nearly 6-year-old Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria that has killed thousands — a reported 10,000 just last year — and forced more than 1.5 million from their homes. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
In this photo taken Wednesday, April 8, 2015, Nigerian soldiers stand guard in front of the burned out palace of the Emir of Gwoza, in Gwoza, Nigeria, a town newly liberated from Boko Haram. Each day brings new reports of atrocities, with mass graves being discovered in towns seized back from the militants who had set up a so-called “Islamic caliphate” across a great swath of northeast Nigeria. Boko Haram's nearly 6-year-old Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria that has killed thousands — a reported 10,000 just last year — and forced more than 1.5 million from their homes. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
In this photo taken Wednesday, April 8, 2015, Nigerian Soldiers man a check point in Gwoza, Nigeria, a town newly liberated from Boko Haram. Each day brings new reports of atrocities, with mass graves being discovered in towns seized back from the militants who had set up a so-called “Islamic caliphate” across a great swath of northeast Nigeria. Boko Haram's nearly 6-year-old Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria that has killed thousands — a reported 10,000 just last year — and forced more than 1.5 million from their homes. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
In this photo taken Wednesday, April 8, 2015, Nigerian soldiers man a check point in Gwoza, Nigeria, a town newly liberated from Boko Haram. Each day brings new reports of atrocities, with mass graves being discovered in towns seized back from the militants who had set up a so-called “Islamic caliphate” across a great swath of northeast Nigeria. Boko Haram's nearly 6-year-old Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria that has killed thousands — a reported 10,000 just last year — and forced more than 1.5 million from their homes. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
In this photo taken Wednesday, April 8, 2015, a Woman cries as she learns that her relatives were killed by Boko Haram in Gwoza, Nigeria, a town newly liberated from Boko Haram. Each day brings new reports of atrocities, with mass graves being discovered in towns seized back from the militants who had set up a so-called “Islamic caliphate” across a great swath of northeast Nigeria. Boko Haram's nearly 6-year-old Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria that has killed thousands — a reported 10,000 just last year — and forced more than 1.5 million from their homes. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)
Parents of missing Chibok schoolgirls carry placards on April 14, 2015 to protest the delay in rescuing their daughters as they gather to mark the one-year anniversary of the abduction of 219 schoolgirls by Boko Haram Islamists in the northeastern Nigerian city of Chibok in Borno State. But as the teenagers entered their second year of captivity at the hands of the Islamist militants, Nigeria's incoming president said he could give no guarantees about their safe return. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Parents of missing Chibok schoolgirls gather on April 14, 2015 to mark the one-year anniversary of the abduction of 219 schoolgirls by Boko Haram Islamists in the northeastern Nigerian city of Chibok in Borno State. But as the teenagers entered their second year of captivity at the hands of the Islamist militants, Nigeria's incoming president said he could give no guarantees about their safe return. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
Parents of missing Chibok schoolgirls gather on April 14, 2015 to mark the one-year anniversary of the abduction of 219 schoolgirls by Boko Haram Islamists in the northeastern Nigerian city of Chibok in Borno State. But as the teenagers entered their second year of captivity at the hands of the Islamist militants, Nigeria's incoming president said he could give no guarantees about their safe return. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

"The most important thing is to restore their dignity," the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his office in New York.

"When you have been in captivity against your will, and God knows whatever they have done to them, some of them will have been violated, some raped, food insecure ... We need to take them, work with them and bring them back to the reality of their lives," said Osotimehin, who is Nigerian.

His agency is providing the women and girls with intense psychosocial counseling and medical care for reproductive and maternal health. It is also encouraging communities to allow the girls to return in peace.

That will be a challenge, going by comments made last week by Gov. Kashim Shettima of Borno, the home state of Boko Haram and the one most affected by the nearly 6-year-old Islamic uprising that has killed more than 12,000 people and forced more than 1.5 million from their homes.

The governor said he feared that girls and women raped and made pregnant by the extremists could be breeding a new generation of terrorists.

Shettima called for a special monitoring program of the mothers to identify paternity because he said the militants had deliberately impregnated them so they would give birth to future insurgents.

"I am seriously worried with the fact that most women tend to hate and abandon children they deliver from rape. Now, the problem is that these children could go to the streets unattended to, they then lack access to food, health care and education. The result is that they could indeed inherit their fathers' (ideology) somehow," Shettima told government officials, according to the Nigerian press.

Such statements from a man of Shettima's standing are "very unfortunate" and would reinforce the very stigma he says he wants to avoid, said Human Rights Watch researcher Mausi Segun.

Segun has interviewed many females who escaped from Boko Haram and described their experiences as "very traumatizing and horrifying."

The mass kidnapping of nearly 300 students who were writing science exams at a boarding school in the town of Chibok a year ago brought Boko Haram to the attention of the world and elicited international outrage. The extremists abducted a hundreds more in their campaign across northeastern Nigeria.

The stigma of Boko Haram has tainted girls who escaped their captors.

Segun described the experience of some of "the Chibok girls," as they have come to be known, who escaped in the first couple of days of their abductions. Some got away as they were being transported in open trucks by grabbing the branches of low hanging trees.

Instead of being admired for their bravery, some of those "who had escaped were being called Boko Haram wives," said Segun. After speaking to one of the girls, Segun "got the sense from her that it deeply, deeply shamed her and her companions ... they were being discriminated against because of close contact with Boko Haram and stigmatized," Segun said.

She said some of those girls have left Chibok and are living with relatives or supportive family friends elsewhere. "These girls weren't even touched (raped)," said Segun, "but Boko Haram is so despised that anyone identified with the group shares some of that label, the slur."

More from AOL.com:
Carson questions enforcement of SCOTUS decisions
Tornado touches down in South Dakota town
Fourth arrest made in deadly police shooting

Read Full Story

People are Reading