Alerted by moans coming from the bedroom of their daughter, a Douala couple entered their daughter’s room, seized her lesbian lover and hauled the woman to the local police station. While they accused the lover of flagrant homosexuality, their daughter escaped.
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By Jacks Oke
The incident began around midnight on Jan. 16 in Douala, when Lesy,, a 20-year-old student, was making love privately — but noisily — in her bedroom with her 22-year-old partner, Nady.
For their security, neither woman’s real name is used in this article. (The use of Nady’s photo was authorized, until months later, when she changed her mind; the photo was then removed.)
The couple had been meeting in a nearby neighborhood without the knowledge of either family, but on Jan. 16 they secretly entered Lesy’s family home, at first without being noticed.
They began making love. Soon, without realizing it, their moans attracted the attention of Lesy’s parents.
Silently approaching their daughter’s room, they surprised the couple in the act. The parents howled in protest, then seized Nady and violently hauled her to the Nkouloulou district police station. Meanwhile Lesy ran away and sought refuge at a friend’s house.
At the police station, Nady was bullied by the gendarmes and locked in a cell at the urging of the parents, although they did not file an official complaint.
The next day, Lesy contacted the local group ELLES, which defends the rights of lesbians in the city of Douala. She told them that her partner was in a cell at the Nkouloulou police station, which she had learned from a neighbor who kept track of the night’s events.
Because Lesy’s parents had not filed a formal complaint, an attorney working for ELLES was able to persuade police to release Nady.
On the evening of Jan. 17 — after about 16 hours in the cell — Nady was released on the condition that she would never again to engage in homosexual relations.
Nady’s parents were unaware of what had happened, so Nady was able to return to their home without explanation. They believed that she had spent the night at a friend’s house, not in a cell.
As for Lesy, she was able to return to her family home after her parents’ anger subsided.
Jacks Oke, the author of this article, is an activist for LGBTI rights in Cameroon who writes under a pseudonym.
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