Déni was born in the US from first generation Malian immigrants. Throughout high school Déni tried to keep the fact she was dating girls a secret from her parents, but at the age of 18 her parents had arranged her to marry a wealthy man in Mali. Déni was forced to move to Mali where she had never even visited before, with a man she met on the day of her marriage. Déni’s parents offered no support to her. Déni believes this arranged marriage was a punishment to her by her parents for being gay. In Mali Déni not only had to pretend not to be gay, was forced into a heterosexual marriage, but she also as a women had nearly no rights and was treated as such, especially by her husband. Déni, desperate, was able to secretly contact AODVC. AODVC worked with Deni for just a few weeks before Déni suspected herself of being pregnant. Déni’s case manager was able to contact the US Embassy of Mali. The Embassy and AODVC worked together to get Déni to safety to the USA. She was sad she could not go back to her family but is she receiving on-going support through AODVC and partner agencies.
With the help of our supporters who donated to this cause, Déni and her daughter are free to live her life with the basic human rights everyone deserves.
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