A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa
After the child was born, my brother came from Kayanza to chase me away from the family home. The local administrators supported me so that I was taken back by my family. The same brother came back to chase me out again, and this time it was for good. Members of my family, and especially my brothers, reject me because they are afraid they will have less of the family land because of me. And no-one round here cares.
I was often taken into the forest by the rebels, to carry their loot. Sometimes they kept me there overnight and brought me back very early in the morning, at dawn. They raped me, they did that three times. There were lots of girls who suffered violence during the war. Apart from the rebels, neighbours did bad things to girls and women. Most often, it was rape and stripping them of their possessions. If any girl tried to denounce her rapist, the latter might kill her, because it was a war situation. There were girls and women who were abducted by rebels and who were killed by them, others were wounded. For example in our group there was a girl, Cecile, who experienced terrible violence. One night, she was taken to the forest. The rebels had killed her mother, her father and her sisters. Cecile was wounded with a machete around her neck.
Girls who had been taken by the rebels were first of all rejected by their families, especially if they had children as a result of these rapes. The girls who weren’t pregnant didn’t escape from sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS and other illnesses. I know a girl who got AIDS after being abducted by rebels. When the girls came back from the forest, from being with the combatants, the administrators and the parents and the people all around would suspect them of having become friends of the combatants.
It is very difficult for me to be accepted again by society, probably impossible. Often I was taken in the night while people were sleeping – even when we passed by the night patrols15 and we cried out, no-one believed I was being taken away by the rebels. Lots of people didn’t accept that I had been raped. A lot thought I was responsible for my situation. It is hard for people to be understanding, but God willing I will recover my dignity. This will mainly be through the tailoring that I am now learning. This is very important for me, just as it is for the other girls who are learning an occupation. I would ask that other girls who have not yet been identified as being among the poorest should be taught an occupation.
As far as we war-affected girl rape survivors are concerned, even those who have been accepted back, we believe ACORD and the administrators should do more to enlighten people so that they respect the rights of girls who have been raped,
Night patrols were organised by the local community and carried out by local men.