Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September 2014, 13:28 GMT

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Vivien Nsenga, "When they were finished they asked me if I wanted them to kill me"

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 4 November 2011
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Democratic Republic of the Congo: Vivien Nsenga, "When they were finished they asked me if I wanted them to kill me", 4 November 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4eb916fa2.html [accessed 18 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Vivien Nsenga (not her real name) does not know the year of her birth, but she knows the date of her gang-rape – 3 April 2010. A petite woman, she appears to be about 19 years old.

Early in the morning of 3 April she set out from the home she shares with her mother to weed her peanut fields, about three hours' walk from her village in the Massisi district of North Kivu Province, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

"When I arrived at the field, all of a sudden three soldiers appeared from nowhere. They spoke Kinyarwanda [a language spoken in both neighbouring Rwanda and much of eastern DRC] and each man had a gun and two were also carrying pangas [machetes].

"They raped me for about two hours while one was holding my hands and the other my feet. When they were finished they asked me if I wanted them to kill me. I was so traumatised I could not even speak.

"The FDLR [Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda] are rulers there. They raped my grandmother also. But it would be a paradise [without the conflict] as there is lots of water and we can grow anything from tomatoes to rice and cassava.

"Some people found me a few hours later [after the rape] and took me back to my village. I was made pregnant by the rape and the baby was stillborn, but it caused fistula. My grandmother developed a fistula from being raped and came to Goma [the provincial capital] to have it repaired and that is why I am here.

"I had to walk for about 12 hours to catch a motorbike taxi, and then a taxi to get to Goma. I am staying with my uncle [here in Goma]. I would like to stay here [after my operation] because of the insecurity in Massisi."

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