Masika: ‘It’s not the end of the world’
Masika has devoted her life to helping rape victims in eastern Congo rebuild their lives.
Masika’s husband was a wealthy shopkeeper, commuting to Dubai. They lived in a town and had a nice house and a car. Masika was 27 years old when her husband was murdered and she and her two daughters were raped. Their relatives threw them out with nothing. Now she runs a centre for rape victims, helping them to rebuild their lives.
“I lived a happy live, a happy normal married life. But then I was struck by misfortune when we were attacked by militia. They raped me and my two daughters in front of my husband.
When I got better I decided to help other women the same way I’d been helped. So I created this centre.
I receive women from villages who’ve been raped. I counsel them and escort them to hospital for treatment, as well as looking after orphans whose mothers died during the war or because of rape, and children born from rape.
You’ll feel their suffering, but your task is to restore her to her old self. That’s how I managed to look beyond my own pain to help them. You see there are many girls here and they all call me mama. My job is to help women, girls and sisters.
Since I’ve been doing this work I’ve been raped three times. I’ve been beaten, tortured and left to die.
Once I was coming down the hills, while I was with some rape victims, soldiers came and raped me. One of them stared at me and said: ‘I can’t have sex with this woman, she’s an empty house with no rooms.’ He was pushing his foot inside me. When he finished he spat on me. That’s when I thought about killing myself. I’m constantly haunted by this.
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Holding together such a big team of men, women and kids is not easy. While I give my all to look after these orphans, I have no-one to turn to for support, it’s all consuming. Sometimes it’s so draining that I ask God to kill me so I can rest. Yet, I worry if I wasn’t here, because my daughters say they hate their kids born from rape.
There are times when I feel devastated, I feel I’m working for no reason. But when I see a child on the verge of death or I find a baby in the middle of corpses without a mother I’ll save this child, and who knows what the future will bring.
Many think that when they are raped their lives are shattered. But we’d like them to know that it’s not the end of the world.”
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