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Marie with her daughter Mary

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I went to a house to ask for water. They sent me   away. As I was reaching the end of the road. I       met the owner of the home. He looked at me with   a lot of bitterness and cut me in the face with his   machete.                                                             

We were attacked by a gang of Hutu men – they were about four. I started to scream and to shout and to make noise. One of them hit me hard in the chest, so I couldn’t make any more noise. They negotiated amongst themselves for one of them to take me home. And one of them raped me. After the rape, I couldn’t speak… He raped me over and over for about an hour and when he was done he left me there unconscious.. After one month and fifteen days, they diagnosed and told me that in addition to being HIV+, I was also pregnant.

When I heard the bullets, I ran and hid under the bed in the bedroom. They had killed my aunt and uncle but they hadn’t killed their baby. When I came out from under the bed it was a shocking moment of my life. My aunty had been killed. They had raped her and there was blood flowing out of her private parts. My aunty had been killed, and they had put the baby on her breasts. My uncle had also been shot. The whole sitting room was full of blood and dead bodies except for the little kid who was alive but sucking the breasts of her dead mother.

I stayed at that roadblock for a week. But while at the roadblock, I saw them kill people, I saw them rape women, I saw them throw people in pits. Whatever they were doing they were not scared. They could have done this just to torture me. They took me in. There were over 10 men. They came and raped me. One comes and he goes, another one comes and he goes. I can’t count how many they were. After the last man raped me, I told him I’m thirsty and if he could give me some water. He said yes and brought a glass. Wen I drank it, I realized it was blood. The man said: "Drink your brother’s blood and go”.

That was the end. After the war, from the time I met my father, my father constantly reminded me this kid is bad, her family is bad. Her family killed my relatives, that there was no reason for me whatsoever to love that girl and because of what I went through anything relating to what happened to me, when I see her she reminds me of the rape. The first rape and the second rape and all the rapes that followed, I relate them to her. I can't say I love her but I can't say I hate her either. Now I miss her. Now I sometimes miss her. I am alone in the house, I sit in my bed and I think I have a kid. But when she comes and she asks me for something and I can’t give it to her, then we are not friends because she thinks I hate her. She can’t understand that I do not have what to give her. Whenever I go over to where she lives with my aunt, where I went through the horror, every step of that hill, every grass, every tree, every stone, every house, reminds me of 1994. I don’t want to go there.

© 2012 Foundation Rwanda, All Rights Reserved - All photographs by Jonathan Torgovnik © Foundation Rwanda