In 2004, Aicha was living in a neighborhood called PK12 with her brother and his wife. One morning, men arrived. It was very early and people were still asleep as the men swept through the neighborhood killing, pillaging and raping indiscriminately. When they came to Aicha’s home, they hit her brother and shot him in the legs and then raped Aicha and her brother’s wife. Aicha tells how she was gang-raped by five men. The family later moved to an area called Combatant to start a new chapter for Aicha. They kept the incident a secret in order for her to marry. She did so, and started a family.
Renewed violence broke out in Central African Republic in 2012. By 2014, Aicha and her husband had 3 children and she was pregnant with her 4th child. On 24 February that year, armed men broke into her home while her husband was not there. She told us how they threatened to kill one of her children if she didn’t come with them. In this manner, they abducted Aicha, taking her to an abandoned building where they sat her down for interrogation. One of the leaders then took her to a room where he raped and brutalized her by penetrating her with a hand grenade.
She was then taken to a shed and was kept locked there with a plan to be killed in the morning. However, the man who was assigned to guard her said: “I don’t approve of this. I am going to keep the door open at night; if you are strong enough to run, then run!” Aicha ran in her underwear until she reached a neighborhood where she had some female friends who took care of her and gave her clothes. As a result of the rape, Aicha had a miscarriage. Her husband found out about the rape and left her and their three children. Aicha now lives in her parental home. She has not seen her husband since the incident and does not know where he is.
Photo: Rena Effendi for the ICC #LifeAfterConflict - Stories as told to ICC Outreach @renaeffendiphoto