Five years ago, the president of Gambia crowned 18-year-old Fatou Jallow the winner of the nation's top beauty pageant with a lecture to her and other contestants: Do not rush to marry, he said, but use the pageant's scholarship prize to fulfill your dreams.

But the president, Yahya Jammeh, soon began summoning the pageant winner to Gambia's Statehouse and eventually asked her to marry him. She said no.

"I thought it was a joke," Jallow said. "I was very naive. I didn't know how brutal he was."

When he summoned her yet again, for what she thought was a Ramadan