African Women Voices
Today I translated the story of Nicole, from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She wrote about the violence she experienced in the DRC back in the 90s as she recalls it. This is my third entry as part of the Take Back the Tech campaign against violence on women.
This story originally appeared at worldpulse.com as part of World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign. (WARNING! The original article contains strong graphics)
I was born in 1990 in Bukavu, in the South Kivu province, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. After four years, there was the genocide in Rwanda and there was also a war in here.
My sister was born in a refugee camp, some 500 meters from home. My mother could not get care assistance and although she was a woman who just gave birth she was forced to return home after only few hours. When I was 6 years old, in 1996 there was a so-called war of liberation, led by Laurent Kabila, who came to overthrow the reign of Mobutu. There has been several deaths and people hurt. Three days after the beginning of the war, we left the city on foot to get to other villages because the military vehicles were bombed.
In the end we traveled for hundreds kilometers on foot. After about 6km, at 18:00 we decided to spend the night there. Only five hours before the sunrise, a group of people came behind us saying that the military were coming. We quickly left the place. The ones who remained behind us were killed because they wanted to wait for the morning. But on their way and they were unfortunately bombarded. There were several dead bodies. And that was really atrocious because until today, after 16 years, I still cannot forget what I saw.
Apologies for not being able to tell exactly what I saw.
In 1998 there was another war of Rwandan rebels who have controlled for eight years our two eastern provinces of the DRC, which are still the subject of many wars and violence. In 2004, there was another war that happened when Rwandans invaded Bukavu. After two years there have been wars led by Laurent Nkunda from Rwanda to Goma in North Kivu province where there was terror, crimes against was humanity and women were violated. During those years there were several armed rebel groups in these two provinces that have committed many crimes, massacres and rapes. The number of women raped in DR Congo has increased. And today, there is still a war in Goma, where the M23 is making lots of deaths. These rebels are committing crimes against humanity. We are tired to shout every day that we need to stop the war! What we are experiencing is traumatizing and it is difficult to live like this!
World Pulse believes that women’s stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.