Today I was updating our patient data base. I went through all patient files from the last two weeks and as the files piled up I felt more and more numb. I read story after story about chopped wives, beaten brothers, sexually molested children, gang raped women, stabbed men. I thought about the fate of these people, about the constant violence they face. About how much of the world is unaware of what is happening here.
Instead of writing about my own personal feelings I want to give space to the words of the survivors. All quotes below are from patients of the Family Support Center, but some details are changed in order to ensure the survivors’ anonymity.
“In the night more than 12 men came to my house, held me up and raped me. They came to kill my relative, but he was out so they raped me and burned my garden house. I will pray and ask the Lord to take away my fear, shock and startling in me.”
“I am angry for my husband beating me with no respect for the baby in my womb. After the beating, I sat in a fast flowing river to split up the blood clots in the injured part of my body”
“I was trying to eat my dinner when my father said I shouldn’t be eating the pork because I don’t contribute enough for the family. I hit his face with my fist. My cousin saw this and came to hit me and we started to punch each other. Later we fought with our bows and arrows. I was stabbed in the back with his spear.”
“I was at home and my brother came home. He grabbed me, took me into the bush and raped me. He threatened me with a bush knife and warned me no to tell the family”
“I was crying over my friend who died. My husband stopped me from crying. I was upset so I threw a stick at him so he beat me badly.”
“My uncle and my cousins came from the village so I bought a rice bag, cooking oil, salt, soap and rang my wife that I can’t send her money. Later when I came home, she smiled and walked towards me and surprisingly stabbed me in the arm and back.”