The tail of a salmon and the words of a girl are the slipperiest things on the planet.
“My husband screamed when they raped me. So they shot him.”
My husband, who was standing there tied up and was forced to watch the rape, screamed out. So they shot him. There was a big hole in his back. I tried to break free but one of the rapists stabbed me in the foot with his bayonet.
After the murder they forced my sister-in-law and me to go with them. We walked for three nights before we reached the camp. I was carrying my new-born baby. I was a prisoner in the guerilla camp for three months. There were about 30 women there and lots of children. We were treated worse than slaves. Anyone could rape us at any time. We had to work hard and were constantly humiliated. When the camp was attacked by another militia group I was released, but by then my son and my sister-in-law had both died from all the hardship. When my child died he wasn’t even given a proper burial. They just threw his body out into the forest.
Anyone could rape us at any time.
I didn’t go back to the village when I was released. My husband was dead and I was ashamed. And I was afraid of being rejected. People told me about the Panzi Hospital and I was treated there for various sexually transmitted diseases. But I wasn’t pregnant and I hadn’t been infected with HIV.
When I was discharged from the hospital I was able to move to Dorcas. There I learned how to weave baskets from plastic tape. I was good at it and now I’ve got a job teaching basket weaving.
I’m happy. Working and having a new family helps me to forget.
Five months after I left the jungle I was able to collect my daughter from the village. Now we live here in Bukavu. I’ve remarried and I have a son with my new husband. Thanks to Dorcas’ micro credit system I’ve been able to borrow some money and rent my own house.
I’m happy. Working and having a new family helps me to forget. But my husband doesn’t know my whole story. He knows my first husband was killed in an attack. I’m not going to tell him about the other.
Maternal deaths: Just over 900 deaths per l00,000 births ****
Number of children/woman: 5.2 (2011)
Abortion legislation: Abortion is forbidden, even when the mother’s life is at risk.
Law against rape within marriage: No
Violence against women in close relationships: 1.8 million women will be raped during their lifetime. Congo is the second most dangerous country in the world for a woman to live in.