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Benedicte is a 15-year-old girl, full of optimism, whom we met when she left the UNFPA-supported Women's House in Mbandaka.

Her optimism about life masks all the suffering she has gone through in her very tortuous life. Her face that was earlier filled with optimism during our early exchanges gradually disappears to show a face full of bitterness when she begins to recount her experience when she was kidnapped, sequestered, tortured and raped. Her words were interspersed with sobs

One Saturday evening, around 6 p.m., while I was going to a phone shop to retrieve my battery left on charge, two young boys on a motorcycle approached, suddenly they put a cloth over my face and I fell asleep. When I woke up I didn't know where I was, was very weak, had no underwear and saw blood on my thighs. There was a boy with a machete telling me not to scream or he will kill me”.

Benedicte talking about her ordeal

I got sick and the boy gave me a lot of pills, nothing worked, he and his friends managed to throw me down my avenue. Around 10 pm, a woman nearby recognized me and she drove me to my grandmother's house”.

Benedicte became pregnant during this painful period.This unacceptable situation is unfortunately experienced in silence by many girls in this locality. Thanks to the support of UNFPA and its partners, Benedicte was immediately provided health, psychosocial and legal services. At the Bongisa libota clinic who are partners of UNFPA, medical assistance was provided to Benedicte. Thanks to the work done by the GBV coordination team of the Provincial Division of Gender, Family and Child, Benedicte benefited from psychosocial and legal support and the perpetrators arrested.

Today I feel good because I have been treated and my attackers have been arrested. I can move around safely. Thanks to your support, I didn't pay money, thanks to you I can smile and take back my life.

At the end of the exchanges, there was a glimmer of hope on the face of the young girl who is in the process of rebuilding her life with the support of GBV stakeholders.

Benedicte's holistic care allowed her to start rebuilding her life. Today, she sees life with great hope because she wants to go back to school at the beginning of the next school year to become a seamstress and give herself the means to take care of her daughter who was born as a result of the rape.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) supports the Congolese government and development actors in promoting respect for the rights of women and girls. Its main objective is to achieve zero gender-based violence (GBV).




Junior Mayindu