“Despite everything, the war has given us a chance to change traditions and to question the discrimination.”
Justin Kabanga, Professor of Psychology, Bukavu, Congo

Emerance

“Half my family died that night.”


Name:
Emerance
Age:
20

One of the soldiers grabbed hold of me and tied me to him with his belt. My father protested, he said I was too young, they couldn’t take me with them. My brother got really angry and shouted at them to let me go. They shot him. He died instantly.


Monique

“I made my mind up when he started beating our son.”


Name:
Monique
Age: 26

He didn’t want me to leave the house for anything, suspected me of all kinds of things, and when he had beaten me he used to lock me in the house so no-one would see my injuries.
He didn’t drink and he didn’t take drugs. He was just crazy. He threatened to beat me to death if I reported him to police.


Vanessa

“Singing was associated with the suffering, the violence and the fear.”


Name: Vanessa
Age: 33

When he disappeared from my life, so did my great joy: music. I had been singing more or less professionally since I was five years old. My boyfriend and I had performed together, singing and playing in bars and at weddings. Outwardly, we were that perfect, sweet couple who made a living from their music.


Faranza

“I pray to Allah that no girl ever needs to be born in Pakistan.”


Name:
Faranza
Age:
63

I had six children altogether with my first husband, but only three survived.
We lived with his family, and it wasn’t really my husband who was the main problem, it was my brother-in-law.


Susana

“It feels strange to think of yourself as a victim.”


Name:
Susana
Age: 41

I only really wanted a sexual relationship. I’d been alone for three years and I had a good life. I didn’t want anything at all to do with men. But after our first night together he came back almost every day, even though we hadn’t arranged anything; and he was often drunk.


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.


Luciana

“The police didn’t come, even though I rang several times.”


Name:
Luciana
Age:
44