Abby and Kyalu: Rape in the DRC

War is often measured in fatalities, but many more suffer trauma - particularly form rape in conflict. In 2006, during the war in the DRC, over 400,000 women were raped. That's over 1,000 per day, and the problem still continues.

The impact of sexual violence, on both victims and families, is long-lasting. When Kyalu was raped during the conflict in the DRC, her husband Abby couldn't bare it.

"When I think about what happened to my family, I always wanted revenge," Abby told GoodFight Media.

"It's hard to forget the past, when violence still surrounds you," Kyalu said.

Separated when they were abducted by rebels, Abby and Kyalu reunited in Goma. Kyalu was pregnant, and she went to her parents to have the child.

"Finding out what they did to my wife was unbearable, I felt powerless," Abby said.

"It was difficult for him to accept my son who was conceived from rape," Kyalu said.

"I felt so much frustration, I became violent with everyone around me," Abby confessed.

Now, with the help of group therapy from the Living Peace Institute, Abby and Kyalu are rebuilding their relationship.

"He started talking to me differently," Kyalu said.

"The best thing that happened was re-establishing communication with my wife," Abby said.

Dr Benoit Ruratotoye, Training Director at Living Peace Institute, said victims are only part of the story.

"Historically we have put most of our energy into helping the victim, and it's very important that we continue that work," he told GoodFight Media.

"But in order to stop the cycle of violence, we must also focus on the source. And the source is men."

Living Peace, part of Promundo-US, trains group therapy leaders, helping men break cycles of violence.

"The population must find a way to cure itself, we are fighting culture, and culture is powerful,” Dr Ruratotoye said.

“But I think we are moving in the right direction."

Cover Photo: Promundo-US

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