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In 100 days, over 800,000 people were killed for being part of a different ethnic community. On numbers and timescale alone, the 1994 Rwandan genocide remains the largest of modern times.


But it is not just numbers – behind the numbers are people who lost their lives, their homes, their loved ones, and more. They were victims of the military forces but also of their neighbours, friends, and ordinary citizens. Twenty-years later, the effects are still being felt across the country.


Among those who suffered the most are the women who were victims of sexual violence. To highlight the voices of those women as they overcame the effects of rape through rehabilitation, we are showcasing 10 stories from female survivors of the genocide. All of the women have recovered from the trauma of torture, death and loss caused during those horrifying 100 days, but it has been a long road to recovery.



"There is still a long way to go to recovery"

The Director of IRCT member Uyisenga N’Manzi explains what effects the Rwandan genocide still has today.



Women, we need to be courageous

Illuminée Munyabugingo tells her story of the genocide, encouraging women to speak out against their torturers.



Smiling again after 15 years of torture

Charline Musaniwabo married her rapist but therapy helped her leave him. She hopes others will be inspired to get help.




I died and was resurrected

Hildegarde Nyampinga saw murder and experienced rape. Now she is overcoming her difficult past through sociotherapy.


I found a family through sociotherapy

After fleeing to the Congo to escape rape and torture in Rwanda, Mameritha's therapy has helped her find a new home.


Sharing my problems took me out of loneliness

Berthilde tells her story of therapy to overcome the loss of her family.



Being patient provides peace

Ntakwasa tells her story of bravery, patience and, ultimately, justice from the murders she witnessed during the genocide.


I can now take care of myself

Germaine's story of loss during the genocide turns into a hopeful tale of overcoming drug addiction.



Sociotherapy cured my solitude

After losing almost her entire family in the genocide, Mutegwamaso's socioetherapy sessions helped her life improve.




I wouldn't still be alive if it wasn't for sociotherapy

Therese tells her story of becoming widowed and using sociotherapy to overcome her haunting past.



Coming out of a deep hole after a life of trials

Charlotte describes how sociotherapy allowed her to talk about her pain, some of which haunted her entire life.

These stories were published throughout the 100 day period of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide (7 April - 15 July) to show the progress of female victims of sexual violence, many of whom have reinvented their lives through sociotherapy.


All the stories are available in the first issues of Torture Journal 2014, which you can find by clicking this link.




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