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This book is a product of a research project called ‘voices of youth’ carried out - page 64 / 125





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A Lost Generation: Young People and Conflict in Africa

rehabilitation centres, because of the material support they receive from the centres. However, as the materials given to the girls gets used up, the relationship tends to take strain and diminish. Poverty has resulted in a lot of bitterness in families and communities, and this may give rise to them fighting over the assistance given to the formerly abducted girls. In some cases, the girls are simply sent away by their


Some illustrations from the testimonies

‘At home I’m forced to do most of the domestic chores while others go to school.’

‘My dad told me directly that he cannot feed me with my bastard child.’

‘I have a difficult life in my family because my aunty doesn’t want me to study, she wants me to get married.’

‘My aunt took away my money, and as a result I had no means to treat my baby, and the baby died.’

‘When it comes to sharing things, I’m excluded.’

Even where the girls are accepted back into the family, relationships are often tense. Psychologically they are not prepared for motherhood, yet their families expect them to do things in a normal way. Moreover, the girls’ formative years have been spent in exceptional circumstances, rather than within their families as would be normal, and this creates a gap between older and younger family members. In some cases the girls look on their parents as people who should have protected them during abduction, and this generates bitterness, especially when the family members lack respect for the girls’ feelings. The formerly abducted girls themselves sometimes contribute to the poor family relations, using people’s mistrust of them as a basis for threats. For example a mother of a formerly abducted girl described how sometimes, when she tries to correct her daughter, the girl responds: ‘Do you know how many people I have killed?’

Discrimination from the community in general Relations between the community and the formerly abducted child mothers are generally poor. The girls are regularly insulted and derided, they are accused of being thieves and killers, and their children are prevented from associating with other children. This is because people have suffered at the hands of the LRA , and believe the girls to be tainted by their association with it. There is also resentment at the fact that those who were not abducted suffered greatly too, and yet their

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