Posts Tagged ‘abuse’

sometimes it is tough here

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

This is from yesterday, March 5:

Congo is breaking my heart a little bit today. I think I’m extra tired – Roger and I were running around all day, being quite productive, but tiring ourselves all the same. And the interviews were not – as they never really are – on easy topics. But on this trip, I guess my stories are bringing me even closer to the suffering so many women and girls have endured here.

At this point, I’ve met all too many girls aged 14 or 16 or 18 who were kidnapped, raped, beaten savagely, used as slaves, and impregnated – many of them when they were only 12 or 13. They’ve seen their parents and siblings murdered and their homes burned, they’ve been rejected by remaining family members and tell me their dreams of finishing school, marrying, just living, have been shattered.  It’s devastating because there is nothing I can say to make any of it better. And while merely taking care of themselves can feel like an insurmountable challenge, they’ve got the added dimension of another life in their hands, their children.

Today we encountered in one of these young women the depths to which this society’s entrenched stigma is piled upon and internalized by rape survivors and their children. She had a story like so many others – abducted by the Interahamwe at age 14, raped repeatedly, beaten so terribly she is now handicapped and impregnated. But unlike so many other mothers we’ve met, she’s not been able to get past her trauma to love and accept her child, an adorable, dimpled 4-year-old who can’t contain her smiles. To hear her express such anger and disdain for the child made it by far among the most difficult interviews I’ve ever had. I empathize with every cell in my body for her suffering. But to know it will be passed on inevitably is incredibly painful.

Tomorrow I’ll be back on the activism story and will hopefully close the day with a more promising outlook…

and another Congo piece…

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

The story that inspired my trip is now out in the Jan/Feb issue of the University of Chicago Magazine. Have a look here.

Now on to planning the next visit!


Monday, November 30th, 2009

I’ve gotten some feedback on my piece about the witchcraft accusations in the Congo. Helen Jonsen wrote about it on her blog at Working Mother. Have a read…