Congo Women: Secrets Unveiled
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Congo Women: Secrets Unveiled
Rape is an epidemic in the Congo. Women that are raped do not talk about it for fear of being abandoned by their families and rejected by their villages. These women have kept their secrets for years, some decades. Now they are sharing their stories for all women of the Congo.
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Produced and directed by Sonya Melescu.

Originally featured in the ViewChange Online Film Contest.


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Segment 1

FEZA [35 years old, Mother of 8, Widow]
This is the first time to tell my story. I have never talked to anyone before. I hoped to have a place where I could share my story with other women. Today I have this opportunity.
Congo Women: Secrets Unveiled
The Eastern Congo has been attacked by many militia groups. Congo is the rape capital of the world. These women have kept their secrets for years, even decades. With amazing courage and strength, Congo women want to tell the world. Their secrets are being unveiled.
No one in my family or my village knows that I was raped. Only you know. This should be kept a secret from my family. No one was home. He told me if I cried he would kill me. He raped me on my children’s bed.
They raped me.
They took all my clothes.
They raped me again.
They raped my older sister.
My children also act traumatized.
I do not know who fathered my child.
VANANCIA [39 years old, mother of 6]
The first Interhamwe man that raped me told me to stop crying. He said, “You are disturbing my work.” He called a second Interhamwe into the house, for his turn to rape me. Then a third Interhamwe came and raped me. My children were near the house while I was being gang raped.
Children witness these attacks of terror. They see their mothers, sisters, raped and tortured. Some of these children are taken into the forests. The boys become child soldiers or slaves. The girls become sex slaves, raped daily by many men.
SIFA [24 years old, mother of 4, one child died from malaria]
Late one night four Interhamwe entered my house. Two men took my husband into the forest. The other two men stayed and raped me.
PAULINA [Mother of 7, widow]
The Interhamwe said to my husband, “Get out! Your women will now become our wife.” My husband told them, “Please don’t touch my wife. Then they killed him.” After killing my husband, three Interhamwe raped me.
NABINTU [45 years old, mother of 6]
One night I was cooking food for my family. Three Interhamwe entered my house. He told me to sit there and one of them raped me. They hit me, and I lost my teeth. I didn’t tell my husband I was raped. If I did he would make me leave. As you can see, I am old.
BINTU [28 years old, mother of 4, one child of rape, father unknown]
Interhamwe entered my village and selected 12 women. We carried logs into the forest, it took three nights. I was raped by seven Interhamwe. Each woman had to support seven Interhamwe. When we arrived at the Interhamwe village, the commander chose me as his wife. He had to give the other seven soldiers a dowry of 12 guns each. The Interhamwe kept me for three months. I became pregnant. The Interhamwe does not like women. They only have sex with them to destroy their bodies.
Many of these women have become pregnant by their perpetrators. Women are not acknowledged as human beings with feelings. Raped daily, and often left to raise a child alone, they live raising a child by the violence of rape, not knowing who the father may be. They are traumatized and lack trauma centers, preventing counseling and recovery. They have no money for healthcare, education for their children. They hold their child as they die of malaria, malnutrition, or other preventable diseases.
NURU [20 years old, mother of 4, one child deceased, 8.5 months pregnant]
In 2007, eight Interhamwe came into my house. They asked my father to rape me because I was the youngest daughter. “I cannot do that to my daughter,” he said. They said to me, “Go and ask your father to show you his penis.” They cut off my father’s genitals. My father died like this. My older sister died because she was traumatized by the death of our father.
Today the woman unveiling their secrets is hope for all women in the Congo. Unveiling their secrets with the help of international organizations, both government, and non-government, these women have the opportunity to have the security and equality they desperately deserve. Sharing their secrets with other women empowers them. These courageous women have made the transition from victims to survivors. Congo Women: Secrets Unveiled.