"The man kept her chained in a room at night and instructed her to wear a ring as part of the treatment. One day while she was by the river, she misplaced the ring. When the man found out, he raped her. She was fifteen."
She is a 21 year old student from Uruagu, Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria and a patient enrolled in NECAP’s one year epilepsy treatment program.
Suffering from seizures since she was ten years old, Joy’s parents sought several methods of treatment throughout the years. At the age of thirteen, her mother took her to have “spine surgery” where incisions were made on her back to remove nerves that were believed to cause the seizures, but they did not stop.
As epilepsy is often associated with spiritual causes, Joy’s mother believed she was a witch and sent her to stay with a native doctor in an attempt to cure her through rituals. Joy recalls that the man kept her chained in a room at night and instructed her to wear a ring as part of the treatment. One day while she was by the river, she misplaced the ring. When the man found out, he raped her. She was fifteen.
Luckily, Joy was able to escape and after years of rejection from her mother and lack of support, she learned about NECAP. She was accepted into the treatment program during the last outreach event over the summer and has gone from having over fifty seizure episodes per year, to approximately one per month.
Dr. Mefoh, a doctor at RISE Clinic Nigeria, sees Joy monthly for consultations and says that the decrease in seizure frequency is due to her taking anti-epileptic drugs (AED). He doubts she will be able to afford her consultation fees and medication after the end of the program since her father is very sick and she does not yet have a job.
Joy lives at home now to care for her father and is currently in her last year of secondary school. She intends to study Business Administration or Mass Communication at a university.