Rape survivor defies odds and finds lover Alice*** weds next month!

Upon being defiled, many victims live with trauma for the rest of their lives and often get bouts of suicidal thoughts and a feeling of hopelessness which never goes away. It doesn’t get any better when one gets pregnant and becomes condemned to a life of unprepared motherhood. For many, their male friends don’t come up to keep the relationship going.

Mahoro Alice*** defied odds and is about to marry her newfound love this coming month. February 26, 2022 is the day Alice and her fiancé are slated to tie the knot in a ceremony that will be celebrated in Gisenyi sector, Rubavu district, West Rwanda.

At the age of 15, Alice, the last born in a family of nine, was defiled and got pregnant. Nine months later she gave birth to a baby girl. She went through the trauma and psychological shock. As if the depression wasn’t enough, her family members could barely accept her. Everyone at home was rude to her. The neighbors’ gossip was too much that she barely set foot outside. She would spend days locked inside home, feeling destroyed. “I was terrified as everyone was rude to me,” she recalls.

His brother Kamali confesses that things weren’t easy when the family got clue about what has happened. “We were all shocked and frustrated to the unwelcome prospect of having an unwanted baby nephew,” he says.

The family reported the case to Isange One Stop Centre and Alice started the proposed response process. “When I was defiled, I experienced a psychological trauma, but meeting people from Isange, and later the therapy sessions organized by RICH, mostly when I met the other rape survivors, my heart was finally at peace,” Alice says.

“Later on, Alice will join other teen mothers under our [CSRHR program through which we equip them with various skills. Through the training, these victims get greater self-esteem and can instill amongst victims of sexual violence that there is still hope.” Says Eraste Ntihemuka, the CSRHR Programs Manager at RICH

“After the training, I made a resolve decision to work hard and make my life better. I started saving from every little money I earned and started poultry farming. I wanted to start by a small number so that I get the know-how and would later expand,” Alice says.

“When I was looking for a carpenter to design the cage for my chickens, I met that man who would later get interested in me and we both fell in love for each other. He likes what I do and how I am optimistic towards life and he loves me, he’s been helping me a lot throughout the ups and downs of my life,” says the young Alice.

She says she has found real love and that her fiancé has accepted her story and he is actually the one who motivates her to do better. “You’ve experienced sexual violence at a young age but it should never stop you from being what you want to be, he always tells me,” The bride to be says with a smile before adding that she’s thankful that now she is going to have a happy family.

“I would not have made it nor met with him hadn’t it been for RICH’s therapy program that helped us. Now I am hopeful that life will keep improving,” she adds.

Claiming Social Reproductive Health in Rwanda (CSRHR), is a 4-year project aimed at creating awareness at local and national levels on GBV prevention and response, strengthening the capacities of Isange One Stop Centers for high quality provision of sexual and reproductive health services as well as empowering SGBV victims economically. The CSRHR project is implemented by the Rwanda Interfaith Council on Health (RICH) with the funding from the Scottish Government through OXFAM.