I am 12 years old and I was raped by one of my father’s friends (who I even called ‘uncle’) who often came to the house. It was a Saturday afternoon, my mom wasn’t there (she was traveling), my dad was at work, and my siblings were in the field.
I was left home alone to sell in the stall in front of house. He came and parked his motorbike like he usually did, he asked for the whiskey in the bag, he gave me the money and I served him. He asked me for a second bag.
When I entered the house to get some, he followed me inside. He pushed me onto the sofa and took off my pants and then raped me. I shouted but there was no one there. When he was done, he restarted his bike and drove off. I didn't tell anyone for days.
I was lying down with a lot of pain in my lower abdomen and wounds. My aunt thought it was yellow fever. When she tried to heal me with traditional remedies, she noticed the injuries I had. I then told her what had happened.
My parents took me to a health center where I received treatment and the doctor gave us a medical legal certificate. My father and I then went to the community home to meet a social worker from UNHCR’s partner, to whom I explained what happened to me. The social worker spoke with me and I felt reassured. Subsequently, the social worker advised my father to file a complaint and he referred us to the UNHCR Legal Protection Unit present that day at the community home. The UNHCR staff who received us advised my father to file a complaint, which they did. Throughout the court proceedings, we were accompanied by a lawyer who works with UNHCR and the man who abused me was sentenced to prison.
I continued to go to school despite what happened because, although my classmates and the teaching staff were informed of what happened to me, they did not reject me and did not make fun of me.
I would like to tell children not to be afraid to talk to their parents especially when there is something wrong or when we have been harmed because we have the right to protection. Despite what I went through, I remain a girl like everyone else, I want to continue my studies and later help young girls who have had to endure the same violence.
1. Rape: vaginal, anal or oral penetration without consent (even superficial), using the penis or another part of the body. Also applies to inserting an object into the vagina or anus.
2. Sexual assault: any form of sexual contact without consent that does not lead to or is not based on an act of penetration. Among other examples: attempted rape, as well as unwanted kissing, fondling and touching the genitals or buttocks. FGM is an act of violence that damages the sexual organs; they should therefore be classified as sexual assault. This type of incident does not include rape (which consists of an act of penetration).
3. It is considered that in the WCA region, 1 in 3 women have been sexually assaulted, and 1 in 5 raped.