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A letter to her rapist.
From a woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo.




Hello to you, my Rapist, my Perpetrator,

You will know that I have not forgotten and I never will.
You will pretend it never happened, but if I were you, I would feel ashamed.
You will always be a man without heart or honour.

Know that I am repairing my world, the one you destroyed in the blink of an eye profiting from the war to destroy everything that mattered to me.

Brothers, husbands, children, families remember the moment when you abused their sisters, their wives, and their daughters. You humiliated me, you terrorised me as well as my loved ones; all these screams, these cries were not only coming from me. I am sure you remember it too.

Do you remember destroying the life of that little girl? She cried, she suffered, but you did not stop; you even mutilated her genitals; I don’t know whether I can call you a man because for me you have nothing human left in you. Deep inside of you, you do not recognize that women are sacred.

Do you imagine that even years after, they still suffer deep inside of them?

I do not know how to qualify this unbearable, excruciating, devastating, torturing, inconsolable pain that you imposed on me.

At times, every minute, every hour was a living hell.

I could not do anything anymore; I cried, I isolated myself from the world; my life was hanging by a thread, which could break at any moment. I was constantly wondering “what did I do to the world to deserve this?”

There were always a thousand and one reasons to despair, but the only reason to hope was my honour. Deep within my pain, I knew that I was better than you.

I often wonder what place you deserve in this world? None. You don’t have the right to exist.

You will know now more than ever, I am not afraid of you anymore, you gave me the courage to fight you. I faced all the pain you inflicted on me, I left the living hell in which you left me.

Unlike you, I can color my world with joy, kindness, justice, and peace because I am not afraid anymore to live and rebuild my life.

Behind my bravery and my strength, there is an immense sadness, humiliation and a deep trauma following what you did to me and to more than three million women in my country. Many of your victims did not survive, however, others now live with chronic diseases.

To me, hope was only a matter of will; this reason to hope was fragile, but the pain taught me how to fight and turned me into a stronger and better person.

Since then, I have decided to face you, you know I already fought to recover my pride, my honor, and my strength. Despite the situation in my country, I am involved in agriculture, animal husbandry, and small trade. I became an active actor in the development of my community, despite all the obstacles I had to overcome.

I am fighting and I will keep fighting so that you can never do again what you did, and if one day you try, I will be here standing in your way with every legal possibility.


Read the letter in French.


The views expressed in the contributions from survivors are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Mukwege Foundation. Photo: Aerial View from North Kivu, UN Photo/Abel Kavanagh


The 16 Days of Activism campaign 2017:

During the international 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, we are helping spread the message of survivors of sexual violence in conflict zones worldwide. They are members of a growing global movement to fight the use of rape as a weapon of war.

25 November: Statement by Dr Denis Mukwege

27 November: Message from Iraq

28 November: Call for support from Colombia


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