Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Song in the Night

In October 2004, Cecile joined the Women for Women International Program. A teenager when she was raped by a militia guard in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cecile had a little girl named Sylvie. Cecile’s life has made her old for her 19 years. These are her words:

Other women were married by choice, but I was married by force. Other girls who were raped were luckier than me; they did not end up pregnant like me. I would say to myself: If I could only go back and be a girl again. That’s impossible! What if Sylvie could go back in my belly? That’s impossible, I would say to myself.

When I first came to Women for Women International, I said I would not tell Sylvie of the circumstances surrounding her birth. I would tell her that my husband was her biological father. But now, I no longer believe that can be done. Now I am asking myself, what will I tell her when she asks who her father is? What will I say? The fathers of the other children are teachers, merchants, but Sylvie will learn that her father was a killer, a rapist who spent his life spilling the blood of others.

I ask myself questions during the hours of the night when I cannot sleep. I cannot find answers to all the questions that I have. The morning comes and I wake up without ever having closed my eyes during the night.

I have begun to feel the pain like I felt after escaping my life as a sex slave. Since then, I have my period twice a month. I feel pain all around my pelvis. I cannot walk 100 meters without feeling dizzy and feeling pain at my lower abdomen and my back. I went to get treated but I refused to be touched by a male doctor. I found a nice woman doctor who told me the problem is I have thoughts that my age cannot support and my body is troubled.

The burden of my thoughts makes me fear that one day I will go crazy. Each thought leads me deeper and deeper into myself. When my eyes open while in the dark in my room and I cannot fall asleep, I begin to interrogate myself. If there was a way to be sure that God would hear me, I would send a letter and wait for his response. If I cannot send him a letter, I need to find another means to communicate with him. I wish I could ask him all of my questions.

One night, as I lay in my bed and my head was spinning with all the questions, I started singing. It was around two in the morning. My mother woke up and asked why I was singing so late. I never wanted her to know how deeply troubled I am. That would worry her. I simply told her that I just wanted to sing. She was afraid because a lot of thieves circulate the neighborhood around this time of the night. She asked me not to sing. I stopped singing and was awake for a long time.

I wonder when I will cease to have all of these worries.

(Excerpted from "Outreach", a newsletter by Women for Women International)


Blogger steph said...

The pain in this story Tonya is the pain of so many women in Africa, in Eastern Europe, in places where they have no escape.

At Christmas time I had the gift of tickets to a very powerful play called In The Continuum - that chronicles the plight of two women who have no escape from what their society has incorrectly believed about HIV.

How can this violence against women change? How do people like Cecile find healing? I want to know more on how we can help suffering women in the violence of culture that has no regard for their humanity and value.

6:27 AM  

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