SOLIDARITE ET COOPERATION POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT INTEGRAL DES FEMMES ET ENFANTS
(SOLIDARITY AND COOPERATION FOR THE INTEGRAL DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN)
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SOCOODEIFE believes that by publishing these stories, it can generate awareness to the outside world about the plight of these women. These rape survivors who stoically rise above their harrowing experience are also being honored for their quiet defiance. SOCOODEIFE feels that each girl’s willingness to appear in these pages creates a level of resistance to the intimidation and violence that they have to endure practically on a daily basis.
Young girls are frequently sexually assaulted in Democratic Republic of Congo and justice is rarely served. SOCOODEIFE understands that as an organization standing up for the rights of Women and Children, it needs to do its best to extend help to these rape victims.
THE STORY OF elene
Elene was victimized with Rape by three men on November, 22, 2017 in Kibamba, a small village in Fizi Territory, South Kivu in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She was only 14 years old at that time.
Elene used to collect firewood in the forest as a means to provide for her two younger brothers and three sisters. It was in one of these wood-gathering trips that she was sexually assaulted while she was making her way home. The three men overpowered her and took turns raping her.
She supposed she should be happy to come out alive from that attack. Many young girls were not so fortunate. On top of raping them, perpetrators often physically attack and inflict fatal injuries on their victims and leave them to die from these injuries.
Elene’s life changed completely. As a result of the rape, she got pregnant and bore twins.
Elene’s is one of the many painful rape stories that are too often repeated in the different villages of the Fizi And Uvira region of the DRC.
SOCOODEIFE offers Elene shelter and provides food and necessary supplies to survive. SOCOODEIFE gives her access to education and pays for day care for her twins in order for her to attend school. SOCOODEIFE also gave her a job as a counselor for women victim of Rape.
“One day i was on my way back home after collecting firewood in the forest.
Then out of nowhere, three men suddenly appeared. they captured and held me down.
I was no match against them and i just could not escape.
And each one of them raped me in turns.
My life changed completely after being raped.”
THE STORY OF CECILE
Byaombe Cecile is about 26 years old and is one of the women who have been able to describe their brutalization and rape. It happened in front of her home in Lubondja, Democratic Republic of Congo on June 24, 2019. It was perpetrated by someone who she considered a friend.
It wasn’t until 3:00 p.m. the next day that someone finally found her. Still unconscious, she was taken to the nearest Health Centre. Because of her severe injuries, health workers had her taken to the district hospital in Nundu Territory. She was diagnosed with severe brain trauma and genital injuries.
It would be 15 days before Cecile woke up. When she was discharged, she met her father at home. Knowing the family stigma attached to women victimized by rape, she was extremely distressed.
“My heart was beating so fast and I felt terrible. I went crazy. I wanted to run in the street. I couldn’t sleep or eat,” she recalls.
Soon after, Cecile found out that the rape incidence had made her pregnant. Cecile and her family tried to find the man who raped her. But he was gone. A SOCOODEIFE team leader confirmed that the perpetrator had escaped to Tanzania.
Cecile is still recovering from the trauma of being physically assaulted and raped. The pregnancy resulting from that assault is a bitter pill to swallow. But like many women who are in the same predicament as she is, she knows that it something she has to learn to accept and try to move on with her life.
“At around 6:00 p.m. a friend called to meet with me near my house.
I knew him as friend so i did not suspect anything.
We talked for a bit and everything was normal.
Then he wanted me to have sex with him. I strongly refused and I tried to escape.
but he suddenly pulled out and hit me on the head with a machete.
I lost consciousness.
All I remembered is that he raped me just a few meters from the main road of my village.”
with her 2-year old son
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