Joe Parkinson and Drew Hinshaw at the WSJ follow up on what was a super dramatic story that turned into a neglected and under-reported tale. What is life like for the Boko Harum kidnap victims after their liberation?
The women had acclimated to the forest camps where Boko Haram insurgents threatened them at gunpoint to either convert to Islam and marry a fighter or be a slave.
About half chose slavery, which cost them access to food and shelter.
Here is another bit:
Psychologists who specialize in kidnap victims say they are unsure about the best way to simultaneously treat and educate such a large group of women—ages 18 to 27—after years of collective captivity and abuse.
The spelling bee contests, one healing piece of the curriculum, arrived as something of a surprise. It was the Chibok girls who came up with the idea.
One night, plopped on couches, they watched “Akeelah and the Bee,” a movie about an 11-year-old African-American girl in Los Angeles who finds her confidence after her father’s death by winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The students watched the movie again and again over bowls of popcorn. They went to their teachers with a demand: They wanted to hold their own spelling bees. The teachers agreed.
The young women began memorizing vocabulary lists and testing each others’ lexicographic skills. Their wordplay escalated into late-night spelling battles. “It was unbelievably competitive,” Mr. Braggs said.
Spelling employs a skill many of the women honed while captive: mnemonic memory. Some spent much of their time memorizing lengthy prayers and hymns. Others composed diary entries in their heads—their thoughts, injustices they suffered—they would later log in journals they kept hidden. In secret, they retold the story of Job, the biblical figure who was punished in a test of his faith.
By the way, 112 girls remain missing and 13 are presumed dead.