“I hope that this testimony will have an impact on the thousands of women victims of gender-based violence.”

“My father wanted a son, so my father decided to find another woman who could give him a boy he left for the village and left my mother another pregnancy, my pregnancy.“

   “I was accused of being a witch who
   wanted to kill my father and brother”

      “I was forbidden to sleep…
      famine and forced youth”

“They beat me violently … and made me drink a
drink with a strange taste to make me vomit”

“Suffering, and especially psychological suffering
that continues to continue until now or I continue to doubt the reason for my existence”


“A virgin when I was 26 … “

“He knew that I really liked apple juice”

“After a few seconds I started to feel dizzy and then I lost consciousness”

“I discovered that I was pregnant”

“I had dishonored the family… I had no idea where I should go”

“I had decided to keep him [the baby]”

“My rapist came to me … started punching me in the stomach. He had seriously hit me that I had lost consciousness”



“After three days in the clinic,
I had lost the child”

“I had no money, to pay
for the care expenses”

“I wanted to kill myself”

“I had gastric ulcers and my liver had
also been damaged; and my uterus also
had a serious problem following the blow
I had and bad care during my abortion”

“Today I still suffer”

“I didn’t have the courage to tell
them that I had been raped”




My name is …  from the village of …, in the territory of Djugu in the province of Ituri in the DRC. I was born in 1986, married and mother of five children.

I was a victim of kidnapping, rape, forced marriage and kidnapping by the Lendu, Mai-Mai FRPI militias. Let me tell you how tribal conflicts have disrupted my life.

It was a certain December 2013, towards the evening, we were sitting around the fire with my cousins who had come to greet me and I, in the next room which served as a kitchen, we were discussing the preparations for the end of the year celebrations.
In the village, rumors had been circulating for some time about the Lendu militia preparing to exterminate us. But because sometimes there was a lot of noise about them and sometimes we even hid but nothing was happening, we had trivialized the information.
My husband was inside the house when he heard the shots, he had taken the children, including my five-month-old baby, and rushed into the bush with them to hide.

As for us, when we tried to escape, it was already too late, they were already within our walls. My two cousins and I were a little fat, we had had trouble running, the attackers had caught up with us quickly. There were many of them, about twenty people, the one who seemed to be the leader of the group ordered us in kilendu, to undress and lie down on the ground; what we had done, all naked, they took turns raping us.
Afterwards, they told us to pray for the last time, we had prayed, then they told us to get up and start walking, it was too hard for us to walk on our knees. So I heard two shots, I had seen my cousin who was on my left fall after being shot in the head, then the other cousin had suffered the same fate, and when it was my turn, I heard a voice telling them not to shoot.
They started arguing that I too should die, the voice said that I should not be killed, but that I should be taken to the chief, because he wanted a Hema woman.
I had remained there, helpless and speechless. Equipped with machetes, arrows, guns, knives, they had started to cut my cousins into small pieces before my eyes, I saw the innocent blood of my sisters sinking to the bottom…
When they had finished lynching the corpses of my cousins, they ordered me to follow them; I had been present at all their operations, which lasted at least 4 hours. They had massively raped and massacred women and children who had not been able to escape, they had killed with machetes, looted cows and other valuables, and then they had burned down my entire village.
When they were satisfied, they decided to return to their camps.

We had walked most of the night in the forest. We had crossed about four or five barriers, we had arrived at a camp where women, men and children were waiting for the assailants with whom I was with and welcomed them warmly. As for me, I had been introduced to the chief, who was the same age as my father, he too raped me all night long, after giving me a drink that was too bitter and I don’t know what it was for. I was locked in a small room for three days without food or drink. Afterwards, the chief himself came to see me, and told me that it was thanks to him that I had been saved, if one day I tried to escape, he would kill me. When he had finished talking to me he ordered the guard at the door to bring me something to eat. For a good two years, I didn’t go out, I was locked up and watched 24 hours a day, when he felt like raping me, the guard would bring me water, I would wash myself, then he would take me to their chiefs, to rape me, then he would take me back to my cage.



By my third year, I had gained the confidence of the chief and I could now sleep in his house, however, I should not go through the outside door.
Thanks to this, I began to get some information from the militia in question. I learned that whenever they wanted to have some kind of massacre, they prepared in groups, they performed rituals that I was not allowed to attend afterwards; they sent mercenaries to go and spy on the situation in the target village. Once they had all the information, they took action, I cannot say how many times, how many days and nights, how long these people had been attacking Hema villages.
One evening in December 2017, the chief who raped me every day told me that I should also take part in the operation, after four years of surveillance, which I had accepted. I had to participate in women’s rituals, separately from the men.
There were many of us, I had seen at least ten other women who were also in captivity, just like me, come with us. We had left the camp early in the morning. I had memorized the path we had taken to reach the village. We arrived at the first village around 10:00 a.m. I saw the men I was with killing, slitting the throats, raping innocent people as they had done with my cousins and me.
And it was up to us women to plunder after our men had finished killing and by the end of the operation, they were setting fire to the village. Afterwards, we went back to the camp. I didn’t try to escape for fear of being killed, but I was also extremely guarded.
When I arrived in the village, when my captor saw me return with the troop, his confidence in me grew. I had become free, I no longer had an escort.



And that was when I started planning my escape. I watched the movements of the men on guard, and it took me a year. One night, the day I was supposed to escape, I don’t remember the exact date, but it was March 2018. Around midnight, everyone was sleeping peacefully except the men on guard. My captor was sound asleep, I was out, pretending to have to urinate, and suddenly I saw him following me. We had gone back inside. I had pretended to go back to sleep again, when I heard him snoring, I had started walking on my fingertips, I snuck out of the house, once outside, I ran away. Dressed in a light nightgown and barefoot. On the first and last barrier there was nobody that night, only on the second and third barrier there were guards, fortunately for me, they were fast asleep. Barefoot, I ran all night. Arrived at the first village, around 4 o’clock, I knocked on the first door I had passed, there was nobody, it was when I realized that the village was uninhabited, After an hour’s walk I had found another village Lera and it was there that I entered a house seeing my condition, they had given me something to cover me, after introducing myself they realized that they knew my father and that my family had already grieved for all of us who had been killed that day (including me) although they had not seen my body to bury me. It was the father of the host family there answering to the name of LONEMA MAKI Jean-Télesphore who found me a motorbike that took me to the displaced persons camp in Bunia where my family was. It was an immense joy to find my children alive. My children, some of whom no longer recognized me… my youngest, who was only five months old when we separated and who was already five years old, my eldest son was already bearded, the only child who had recognized me. My husband had welcomed me but was too restless, and had and still does not manage to accept me.

I’ve been living in this IDP camp with my family for a year and a half now, I’ve become too sick, there is no hospital here in Bunia that takes care of the women of victims of gender-based violence. Every time I have a seizure, I go to the camp’s dispensary, the person in charge only gives me paracetamol. That’s all they have as medicine for all our illnesses. I am traumatized to the point where there are times at night when I leave the house unconsciously, as if I was escaping from someone or something ‘horrible’. Also, I can’t contain my urine, and my lower abdomen hurts too much. I will need to have an activity.



My name is Rebecca. I am 16 years old, and I have one child. I was forced to marry a gold digger. Currently I live in Oicha and work at the Aungba site.

I am the eldest of a large family.  Our father is an irresponsible person. He does nothing for the family and just comes to make children and disappear.

To buy food, my mother and I used to go to quarries to look for work. We would carry sand from third parties to the sand wash. We were allowed two or three sand ponds as a reward.

And that was what we used  — whaever leftover gold we could scrounge in the sand ponds — for my family’s survival.

That’s how we lived,  until an old digger who owned a hole wanted to marry me. Instead of talking to me directly, he discussed everything with my mother.

One evening after work, I was talking with my little brothers, when two young men came and took me by force to the old man’s house, where he abused me all night long.

I had become his fourth wife, the youngest of all. I became pregnant and  had a little girl.  My husband became more and more violent towards us.  He took us as laborers in the mine.

I had had enough and I escaped.

Now I live with friends and wescreen gold from the leftovers of other artisanla miners to support our children.

Here we hardly earn a matchstick[1] a day that equals 3000FC, and if a lucky star comes our way, we can get a sengi that equals 12000FC,

If I had the means, I would study. I don’t know how to read or write, and my only dream is to be able to study one day.

[1] matchstick 16 matchstick= 1 gram of gold

Sengi , 2 sengi= 1 gram