Valentine is a genocide survivor whose second daughter was a product of rape. Here, she tells the story of her trauma and how she's been able to move past it with help from Avega Agahozo, a Rwandan non-profit that helps survivors of genocide.
It was on that fateful day, on the ninth, when it all started. I remember I was in my home with my husband. We had just ended our honeymoon when they attacked our village. They were negotiating for his life, and he gave them all that we had in the house. I got scared, as a woman. They got hold of me. They hit me hard. They cut my head with machetes. I became unconscious. I saw my husband, and I realized he had died. They had come to kill him. One of them looked at me, and his eyes were filled with pity. One of them said, "Us Hutus are doing very bad things. If others are going to kill you, it's their problem, but not ours." The head of the militias came. He put a spear in my leg, and forced me to be apart, and he ruthlessly raped me for four hours.
I love the first daughter more because I gave to birth to her as a result of love. Her father was my husband. The second girl is the result of an unwanted circumstance. I never loved this kid. I went to Avega, the association of widows of genocide. They started provoking me to talk, and I received counseling, and, slowly, I started loving my children. I have come a long way to be able to sit like we are sitting with you now. There was a time when we were very quiet and very silent about this, but it never helped us. But, as we talk, we get better.