LOUD WHISPERS: Amina and A Story Of Survival

In December 2008, I attended a forum in Nairobi, Kenya, which had been convened to discuss appropriate support programs for survivors of violent conflict. The participants were mostly women’s rights activists and gender specialists from post/current conflict countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, Uganda, Burundi and Zimbabwe. On the delegations from each country were also women who were survivors of sexual violence experienced during the conflicts. This meeting was one of the many times in my years of working in the women’s movement, that I have shared space with survivors of sexual violence in conflict situations. Regardless of what we know in theory, or can glean from reading reports or books on the experiences of women in these situations, listening to personal accounts of their unimaginable suffering is a different ball game altogether.

One of the things I have learnt listening to and observing these sisters, is that in the absence of conventional approaches to managing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in our communities, they have intuitively developed their own coping mechanisms over time. For example, they sing and dance, and they tell stories. They also throw themselves into rebuilding their communities, and become the most passionate peace activists you will ever encounter. A few months after the Rwandan Genocide, I met a group of women from Rwanda at a conference on Gender and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Amsterdam.  The Rwandan horrors were still fresh on everyone’s minds. The Rwandan participants told story after story about atrocities that were committed during those awful months. Every now and then they would tune everyone at the workshop out and start singing. Of course this startled the Dutch participants initially, but they quickly got used to it.  In 1999 I was in Liberia to run a workshop with some of the women leaders there. When the issue of sexual violence came up, one of them said ‘Many of us here experienced or witnessed it firsthand’. They would then start to cry, but a minute later, they would be singing and dancing. It was the Liberian women who taught me what a ‘Cat’s Concert’ is. At the count of three, everyone starts singing as loud as they can, any song they want in any language. It is such a chaotic, hilarious experience!

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Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

 

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13 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: Amina and A Story Of Survival

  1. Detutu May 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    She should really be left alone and allowed to Heal. She is not a super model who needs all the social media attention, she should be left alone.

    Reply
  2. Harryrrah May 23, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Thank God is back home safely, its not time 2 extract terrible news of how she was mishandled by those micreant. Pls its time 4 u journalist 2 let Her rest.

    Reply
  3. Princess May 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    It breaks ma heart 2 hear terrible issues of rape. How can some people be so devilish hearted. Am glad our Aminat is back, thank U jesus 4 confirming your word. I remember in 2015 when a classmate of mine gave a word of wisdom that Chibok girls will b found. And now 2 of them has been found, I know the other survivors will be found soon too by the power of God’s spirit

    Reply
  4. DSEED May 23, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Amen. And so shall it be. You are welcome back Amina good to have you home

    Reply
  5. maveedah May 23, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    This story is so touching… how can humans be treated like animals..Amina I hope you recover emotionally And physically And fast too

    Reply
  6. Tivo. May 23, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Sometime ago I almost got raped by some armed robbers and my heart still skips several beats when I remember. Amina will need continuous therapy and her parents will also need therapy. The rape stigma is real…… even well educated women cannot bring themselves to tell people that they were raped. If it is possible, Amina and her family should be helped to relocate. This will give her a good opportunity to lead her life without stigma. Empathy is no longer being served….. even the people “helping” you are self serving.

    Reply
  7. Olakunle Olajide May 23, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Tears flow from eyes while reading this post.. I just had to hold myself because i am in a public place. The stories of the women from Uganda and Rwanda were so touching. The willingness to live to tell their stories shows a selfless act of courage. Amina, i welcome you back and i hope you will summon courage to tell your story just to bless people out there. I am surely sharing this post.

    Reply
  8. Timmie_k May 23, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Rape! I got a clear understanding of that in our Sunday-school teaching.(RCCG) few weeks back.. The reward of a rapist is death. God will definitely not leave a rapist unpunished.. To the victims,God never fails, u are still as precious as anything .. Amina,yu are welcome back !

    Reply
  9. Legzycool May 23, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    Tivo i totally agree with you. The family of Amina will also need therapy. And i think better awareness to parents out there on how to handle this rape issue will also be of help.

    Reply
  10. Ebonychyqui2 May 23, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    My advice to all rapist pls go and marry if you want sex rather than constituting a nuisance. And as for those journalist leave Amina alone, she doesn’t need any social media attention because narrating the story of how she was abducted and acquited could cause a magnalogotomy. Thank You Lord for bringing her back to her loved ones!

    Reply
  11. Taiwo May 24, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Telling a story like this after going through such unimaginable horror takes great courage and I know it will help lots of women and men that have been violated one way or the other to know that there is a way at the end of the tunnel.

    Reply
  12. Bamisebi toluwalope May 24, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm, people are really going through alot out there. Different rape stories and children molestation. Only God can help and save us in this wicked world we live. Amina welcome back home. It will really take time for amina to heal but with the help of God, her families Love and the society at large she can get back to her feet again.

    Reply
  13. precious May 24, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    its really great she’s back home
    I don’t know the intention of people about raping but all same its great she’s back.

    Reply

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