CALGARY—As she was driving to a rally to raise awareness about violence against women, Amanda Lindhout started to have doubts about her plan to speak publicly for the first time about how she had been raped and tortured while being held captive in Somalia.
“I just didn’t know if I was going to have the courage to do it,” she said Friday.
“Those are words that I have never said in public before, that I have said only in the confines of my therapist’s office and with close friends and family. So for me, just like for any woman that has experienced this kind of abuse, to stand in front of people and say that publicly and really own that experience was extremely difficult for me to do.”
But buoyed by a feeling of safety at the One Billion Rising event in Calgary, the 31-year-old writer and activist who hails from Red Deer, Alta., and now lives in Canmore, Alta., chose to reveal the repeated sexual attacks that she suffered during her captivity with the aim of showing solidarity with others dealing with the same issues.
Lindhout has spoken before of her time being held captive by a group of Somali youths who had kidnapped her off the side of the road outside the capital of Mogadishu in August 2008. At the time, she was working as a freelance writer.
When Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Brennan were abducted, their parents first turned to the Canadian and Australian governments for help, but eventually hired a private hostage negotiation group and paid a ransom to secure their freedom.
“When I came home from my experience as a hostage three years ago, I never felt an obligation to share publicly any great amount of details about the abuse that I suffered,” she said.
“I shared what I felt was an appropriate level of detail with the Canadian public, who I did feel some responsibility to, considering how engaged the nation was during the 15 ½ months I was a hostage.”
Lindhout turned her attention to writing a book about her experiences and founded her Global Enrichment Foundation, which has a mandate of supporting vulnerable Somali women.
An articulate and composed speaker, Lindhout always seemed to exude confidence, but she admitted that surface belied the ongoing difficulties many survivors of sexual assault would be familiar with.
“There are still days that are really hard for me,” she said. “I have pretty severe post-traumatic stress and it’s something I live with every single day. I’m still afraid of the dark and I’m afraid of loud noises.”
Adding to the complexity of her recovery was her work, which put her in daily contact with the subject of her greatest fears.
“Every woman who has experienced sexual abuse knows how hard it is to get up every single day, but then on top of that I have the public looking at me and the media asking questions about what happened to me,” she said.
She may not have used the words rape and torture, but she said they often ended up in the headlines of stories about her.
“Every time I saw them and read them, I felt like I was victimized over and over again. Those words touched a raw part of me that was still unhealed.”
But she became determined not to be a victim.
“I’m a survivor of rape and I’m a survivor of torture,” she said. “I choose to walk the road of healing. It’s been a long journey over the last three years, but it’s something I choose every day.”
She has learned the process of healing will likely take the rest of her life — she works with psychologists and therapists and nutritionists “to put both my physical and my emotional self-back together.”
She said the support she received after going public about her sexual abuse was heartwarming.
“I have been overwhelmed and extremely touched by how many women have reached out to me,” she said. “If I’m in a position to have my voice heard because of what happened to me in Somalia and share my story and my experiences … then I feel a bit of responsibility to do that.
“That wasn’t easy for me to do yesterday. But it was worth it.”

By: The Canadian Press


  1. What happen to you was a crime, and I'm very happy that you have decided to share with rest of us. We need to remove the stigma attached to rape because to many Women are affected by this Violent Act. And its sad how prevalent it is to the current situation in Somalia. To Many Women Are Getting Raped. And they cant talk about it because of the way the culture is set up. And they need to realize that their not at fault.

  2. It is really amazing that Amanda Lindhout was one of the first people who rushed to help the victims of 2011 famine in Somalia given the horrific violence she experienced in the hands of criminals the year before. Amanda has helped tens of thousands of suffering Somali refugees through her organization of HOPE FOR THE NATIONS as they trekked toward Dadaab Refugee Camp. I was humbled by the bravery of this beautiful lady to return to country where she experienced this vile and unspeakable act of violence on her person not to seek justice or remedy for her suffering but to save lives. You are a hero for Somali people Ms. Lindhout.

  3. Amanda you seem to be a strong women, I wish you to recover permanently from what this savages did to you.

    This sorts of crimes are becoming a daily norm nowadays in zoomalia and especially in the south.

    This people have been psychologically, humanly, and mentally destroyed by the dictatorial regime which ruled them for 30 years and later by the savages who were called warlords.

    Now imagine how the new generation of this savages byproducts are going to fit in this world?
    I hope god save all the poor women in the south who are going to be abuse by their kins whom they brought to this world.

    It’s easy to destroy but harder to build, hence once people reach the state this zoomalians are in, it’s very difficult to mend such destruction.
    God help them thats all I can say.

  4. It's unbelievable and mind-boggling that some one who's herself a woman could post such a commented like this. An a such important issue like this that affects all woman across this world and make it like is a Somali problem only. Does this person not know peacefully nations woman's are getting raped in an alarming rate or is it, Her hate has reached level of psychosis that now she not competent to differentiated. what's right and what's wrong.It was just last year that Laura Logan was raped in Cairo. When she was covering the Arab spring revolution. I'm also going to give you some hard cold facts that you need to wrap around you head.
    Facts # 2:22 million woman in the United State has been raped in their life time
    Facts #8: every two minutes, Somewhere in America, Someone is sexually is assaulted.
    Facts # fact 10 factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% of rapists will never ever spend day in jail for their crime.
    Facts #1 out of every 7 woman currently in college has been raped. That's according to the U.S. department of justices and this is an advance nation .Which I didn't include the woman who serving U.S.A. army. So before you trivialized issue like rape. You might want to ponder just the tiny.

    • Stop crying and help your fellow somali sisters in Burger-land and the south instead of spitting your hate at the people who report it. You are not a women so please stop using sahra as you hate women and hate the fact that they dare speak about rape. This is the difference between somaliland and zoomalia( including Bruger-land)

      • Kaboon..stop being hard on Zahra man. At least this comment goes deep into giving
        incidences of rapes more worst than in Somalia.

      • Hi madam inferior burger land kaboon. I see you come back with rehearse lines as usual and please check your comments next time. one sentence I should help my the sisters in burger land and the south. The next sentence was you're not a woman. So stop using Sahra as you hate woman and hate the fact that they dare speak about rape.not only does he talking both side of his mouth but he's having a difficulties. To separating which of his deranged voices should he listen.Another word which side should he pick. on top of that he's probably having an eye side problem. How else do you explain this, him accusing me that.I don't want her to tell us her ordeal.So question is. Did he not see my first comment.

      • Kaboon

        It’s a losing battle to reason with a zoomalian. They pock their noses every where like flies carrying viruses.

        All they are good at is spreading hate and running after every progressive person in order to set him or her back to zoomalian times.

        The best way to deal with them is to ignore their imbecility and let animal in the zoo bark as much as they can. That’s why we somalilanders don”t want anything to do with them and I for one decided not to reply to their nastiness.

        God bless Somaliland and it’s people

      • Mohamed Cheers

        I saw that too kkkk. Seems good for one to correct self for once on what others have been high lighting for a while. Kkkkkk.

        By the way I see one more issue though which needs correction on this persons part, and that is stopping being a crying baby after each somalilander”s comment on this site.

        All in all let’s give a credit to a zoomalian who took some advise as that seems out of their thinking in general terms.

        Long life Somaliland and it”t intelligent people.

    • Blame the victim, Shame on you. You could not even wear this woman's shoes for a minute and have the courage to speak about it. To Amanda my sincere apologies for what happened to you, this goons would face the death penalty if I was the Judge residing on their trials. A lot of innocent Somali women are being raped on an hourly basis and all you can do is insult the integrity of Amanda. You should be Ashamed for your existance.

  5. Deeply sad what happen to you sister, the gangs who committed this inhuman crime against you are criminals.

  6. Very sad indeed, welcome to the nonsense Somaliland is running away from! I hope you finally find peace.


  8. Why are these unionists attacking this poor woman that was raped in their midst!

    And then turning around and saying that rape happens everywhere ok……does that mean she doesn't or cant help others? Especially in countries where women might not have the government to help them?

    Just admit it you are pi ssed off because this happened in your backyard and instead offering respect and nonjudgmental view points you attack the victim.

    Did you ever think that maybe its better for her to talk and speak out because at the end of the day those same men who raped her are walking around in the streets next to your sisters, mothers, and aunts etc…..smdh

  9. Also can you please source your arguments anyone can sit here and type figures we want actual sources thanks!

  10. Also lets remember that rape is considered shameful and most women in Muslim countries don't report it!

    Also consider the fact that in muslim countries you need 4 male witnesses with good moral standing……which begs the question what 4 men with good moral standing will watch a rape without stopping it before it even happens……smdh

    I bet its higher in Muslim countries I remember reading in the Allah delusion how there are nearly 100k women in jail in Pakistan who accused men of rape but who are in prison for adultery because they didn't have the male witnesses.

    Its nice when someone can throw numbers out there without sources when their own muslim countries probably have higher statistics but because of a culture that shames the victim and makes it next to impossible to catch and persecute the rapist claim that somehow they are better off.

    food for thought

  11. Let me make myself as clear as I can. The comment you seeing that has the figures and numbers and basically focusing on the States .Were not intended for the victim but rather respond to someone else comment. Who was as usual trying to cheapen the argument on the expenses of this sensitive issue.

  12. Yes, women are raped everywhere but she was raped in Somalia. She is talking about her experience in Somalia as a captive. The question to ask is how many Somali women have been raped in the past 20 years of chaos and how can we as Somalis stop it from happening. Who is going to speak for Somali women who have been raped in camps displaced people within Somalia and refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. Why can't we as Somalis accept our responsibilities and stop this heinous crime and stop acting as if this never happens here. In other part of the world when rapist a caught they end up behind bars. Canada and the Canadian people have opened their doors to thousands of Somali refugees, giving them shelter and protection. I pray one day Somalis can have the courage of standing up and pointing out these thugs so they can face the full force of the justice system in Somalia. And, for those who know who the culprits are should come out and shame and expose them.