Chepka’s Story

Chepka lives in a village in Eastern DRC. In 1994 rebels entered her village during the conflict. When the villagers saw them coming, all of them ran for their lives. Chepka’s house was at the entrance to the village and she and her husband did not have time to escape from the rebels. They caught them both and after killing her husband in front of her, they tied Chepka to a tree and took turns to rape her. After she had been gang raped by 10 men, the men then found corn sticks which they inserted into her vagina. She remembers nothing else of the attack as at this point she fainted.

As a result of the rape and violence, Chepka had a fistula (a tear between the vagina and bladder/rectum). She also suffered from chronic back pain and other injuries as a result of the gang rape.

Chepka lived with the fistula for 14 years until a HEAL Africa mobile clinic visited her community and informed them of the signs and symptoms of a fistula. Chepka was able to go to the hospital and have the fistula repaired. Whilst at HEAL Africa she was able to attend literacy classes and learn how to make doughnuts so she could support herself when she is ready to return to the village. HEAL Africa also provided counselling to Chepka.

When asked what she thought of the men who had done this to her she said ‘I forgive them’. Chepka’s story is a powerful example of the church community in action. Forgiveness in this context is incredible powerful and amazing.

Chepka’s name has been changed to protect her identity.

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