Sex Crimes Against Black Girls: Rwanda

“Aamakuru” “Ni meza”  The warm greetings in Rwanda become contagious.  You will try to spout out the greetings. You will eventually become a more calm, in the same manner of your Rwandese counterparts. My work took me into the most rural parts of Rwanda.  Rwanda, the land of many hills, lush, green hills and mountaintops, somehow take away the most horrible parts of history in this country. The gruesome genocide that took place during 1994, killed more than 800,000 in 100 days.  I came to Rwanda about 10 year later and the scars of the genocide, were present in my daily interactions.

Rwanda, was the first country on the motherland that I had ever lived. Our relationship was not exactly “Out of Africa” and unlimited amounts of safaris.  It was a relationship that was slow, hard and eventually fruitful. As a public health graduate, being inside of a hospital was never an issue for me. The morning, brought lines of patients, awaiting answers and relief from pain.

Delivering children, became a treat, to be inside the operating room, and actually assisting a new life come into the world seems so cliche, but uber exciting. The energy of the room, is not that of business but everyone awaiting for this small dependent life. One patient, made me realize, that the misconceptions about women having children was all Hollywood. She barely made any noise, her face was barely tightened.

Maybe, in America she would be totally clothed. Here, she was naked. Not vulnerable, simply naked, having a baby. I do not remember when I saw the scar, but I did. It was clear, she only had one breast and the other was hacked off with a machete. It was a scar that was obviously painful. She finally had her baby, a boy. A boy that suckled his mothers only breast.

I remember going home that night. The shower was really cold and I remember touching my breasts. Not just washing them but being thankful that I still had them. I remember writing about what in this society was considered feminine and womanly. I thought about control and pain inflicted upon women during the Genocide and what means of control and pain where inflicted upon men. I remember the scar that this woman had, but I have no idea what her hundred days were like in Rwanda. I have friends that had slowly opened up and shared stories about their rapes, hiding under dead bodies, and losing faith in humanity. I left Rwanda believing that growth was possible. I left Rwanda knowing that scars do not go away, you learn how to live with them day by day.












~ by travelling womanists on March 29, 2011.

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