In practice there is almost total exemption from punishment for the majority of human rights abuse in Congo, not least for violence against women.

Henna

“I’m glad he’s a boy.”


Name:
Henna
Age: 21

I left my family when I was 16. I’d had enough. My father was away working in different jobs most of the time, and my mother only cared about my brother and wouldn’t let me have any friends of my own. So I left home and joined up with some other girls. Life on the street has taught me that I’m a survivor, I’ve worked and I’ve managed to look after myself.

They can’t buy my soul, and they can’t buy my heart.


Tanya

“No money, no food for the children, no diapers – just six children and another on the way.” 


Name:
Tanya
Age:
44


Cathy and Michael

“What’s wrong with me, choosing a man like that?”


Name:
Cathy and Michael
Age:
39 and 19

Cathy: 
I’m a Christian, and for me my divorce was a huge failure. I wanted to be married and live a secure and stable family life, that was what I really wanted. He knew that. He made me believe that he wanted the same.


Nicole

“My abusers will win if I don’t make something of my life.”


Name:
Nicole
Age:
63


Phindi

“I just stood there, holding a pan of boiling water I was going to throw over him.”  


Name:
Phindi
Age:
42


Nyota

“I lied about the rape because I thought my mother would beat me.”


Name:
Nyota
Age:
14

She stands up
during the conversation, she can’t keep her legs together and it hurts too much to sit down. Her mother, Nyabisepela, is furious and wants to tell us what happened. She wants the world to know what happened to her first-born daughter. Nyota also answers our questions. We interview them briefly before we take Nyota to hospital.  


Faida

“I have no hope for the future.


Name:
Faida
Age:
40


Elena

“It turned out that the medical certificate had disappeared. I expect his father bribed someone.”


Name:
Elena
Age: 24


Carla

“The police held him for a while so I could go back and get some clothes and nappies.”


Name:
Carla
Age: 24


Eszter

“I’ve stopped feeling ashamed for something I didn’t do.”


Name:
Eszter
Age: 22


Wendy

“I’m afraid, but I have to cope.”


Name:
Wendy
Age: 34

My plan is to find a job where I can look after children, or work in a shop, but I can’t work in a factory because I can’t lift heavy things. I’ve developed osteoporosis, after all the pregnancies. I’ve got four children who are alive, and I lost one in the fourth month.