Although Grace had no way of knowing the exact dates she was incarcerated in isolation, she says this is one of the reasons why her asylum was refused by the Home Office. “They say I’m not telling them the right period, but it was a long time ago and you don’t know if it is a Sunday or a Tuesday in prison. You don’t leave, you don’t go out,” she says.
Inside Yarl’s Wood
Ahead of her visa expiring, Grace hired a solicitor who sent letters to the Home Office. They said they would get back to her. “I waited and waited. I made a mistake, though,” says Grace. “I thought ‘at least I’m not in Uganda’ – so I stayed secretly. I got a care job. Then last year, in October 2014, I was arrested at work and taken to detention at Yarl’s Wood.”
Grace told the police she had been in contact with UK authorities over her visa but she struggled to talk about her traumatic experience. “I have a problem with talking about the things I’ve gone through, about being a victim of torture,” she says. “You have to keep telling these stories over and over again. I told the police that is one of the main reasons why I didn’t go back to the authorities. I was taken to Yarl’s Wood where I stayed for five months. That was like another torture.”