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Isabelle with her son Jean-Paul

Sometimes I look at my situation and compare myself with people who have families around them, and I regret that I didn't die in the genocide.

My name is Isabelle. Genocide started when I was 15 years. I was raped then and got a baby boy from that rape whose father I don’t know. I am now 27 years and I stay with my son at this place. 

It all started on April 6th in the evening when they told us that the president had died and my mother said we should run away from the house. I ran but I didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t even know what had happened apart from hearing that the president had died. The next day they told us that they had started killing people in the neighborhood but I hadn’t seen anyone dead. The third day is when they killed my three brothers, now I knew it was real and on the third day in the evening, a group of militias came, attacked our home, and took me. In the evening they took me to a place where they raped me, one after the other – I can’t tell you how many they were, I can't tell you the experience – what I know is that later I realized I was pregnant from that rape. I’d never had sex – that was the first time I was having sex.

When I realized I was pregnant, my first thought was that I should abort but I didn’t know how to abort or where to go for such services. So I stayed with my pregnancy until I gave birth. After giving birth, I thought of killing it because I was bitter and didn’t know who the father is – it was painful but eventually I decided not to kill it. I have stayed with it and it is the cause of trauma to me every time I look at this boy. Because I don’t know who the father is, for sure I don’t know and I don’t know how I am going to live with a boy that has no family. I am physically handicapped because of the beatings that I went through – I can’t carry anything. I can’t work. All that I can do is sit down. It is now that I say, that it is good that I didn’t kill that boy because he fetches water for me.

I fail in my duty as a mother because of poverty. I fail to buy him soap so he can’t wash his clothes. He sometimes also doesn’t have what to eat because I don’t have anything to give him. But it is because of my condition of poverty not because he is the son of rapists. I am not interested in a family. I am not interested in love. Anything that comes to me is a surprise, not that I plan for it. I don’t see any future for me. I sometimes look at my situation and compare myself with people who have their families around them and I regret why I didn’t die in genocide. Up till now, I wonder why genocide didn’t take my life.


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