WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Presentation coach, author and speaker Greta Muller shares her first-hand account of meeting and working with several young women who escaped the terrorists of Boko Haram.
I have spent the last 20 years coaching speakers, executives, and busy professionals of all levels, emphasizing the concept that how they say something has more impact than what they say.
This is a concept that has been researched and proven many times: your “audience” may not remember exactly what you say, but positive or negative, they will form impressions of your credibility. The more positive the impression, the more likely they are to accept your message.
Recently I was engaged to work with two young women- girls, really, teenagers- who came to the United States to share their stories of abduction by, and ultimate escape from, Boko Haram terrorists.
They would be speaking to the Senate, State Department, United Nations, celebrities, and more. They had never publicly spoken of their ordeals, nor did they speak English. This trip was only their second airplane ride and the first was to get their passports.
Hauwa (18) and YaKaka (19) had been kidnapped from their homes at the ages of 15 and 16. Hauwa watched while her parents were murdered; her abductor slit their throats when they refused to give their permission for her to marry.
This was not marriage in any sense we understand it. For almost a year she was beaten, starved and raped daily until her escape, at which time she was nine months pregnant. And these are only a few of the horrifying aspects of an unimaginable ordeal.
I was brought in by their sponsoring organization, Too Young To Wed (www.tooyoungtowed.org) to “coach” these girls.
Upon meeting Hauwa and YaKaka, I quickly felt a strong, protective bond. The strength and courage of these young women was inconceivable- but they would be facing numerous alien encounters.