Restoring the shattered women of Congo

By Evelyn Iritani



Goma, DR Congo – The first thing Modestine Etoy does when the young mothers arrive at her door is listen.

It may take hours, or even days, before they are comfortable enough to share their secrets. But eventually they spill out.

The women tell stories of rape, incest or some other horrible abuse, often committed by people they trusted, such as teachers or relatives. They talk of being chased from their homes and raped by men with AK-47s, who left them for dead before moving on to claim a new woman or piece of territory in the civil war that has long decimated the eastern regions of this impoverished Central African country.

Almost always, they end with some version of “Fini mama” – Mother, my life is over.

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