In honor of International Women’s Day, the women and girls of ABFEK / Action Kivu wrote and performed these poems and a play for all to hear:
Rape! Where did you come from?
Who gave you a name?
Who brought you to my home country?
Those who use you have taken my sister like a cow to slaughter.
They have taken my friends to unknown countries, where are they?
Rape! Why can’t you answer me? Do you hear me?
They have taken my mom in front of me! You have no mercy.
Rape! You have damaged our bodies.
Rape! Because of you, my family and my community have rejected me
Rape! Because of you, my husband has run away
Remember what you did to me mercilessly in front of my beloved ones.
Rape! Because of you, love on me has changed into hatred.
Rape! You have taken my smile, my joy far away from me. BRING THEM BACK.
Rape! You have traded my happiness to bitterness.
Today, I will ask the whole world to help me and bury you
They will help me erase your name and what you’ve caused against my community.
Rape! My family, my community, my country, the world and myself, we all hate you.
~ Author’s name withheld for privacy and security reasons
Violence has no Mercy & Excuse
Why do you not forgive?
Why do you not master yourself?
Why do you not have reservations?
Why do you only do evil against evil?
You sow terror wherever you go.
You fear no one
You spare no one
You do not negotiate
But you treat with force
And everyone complains about you
For you are the enemy of peace.
La Violence est sans Pardon
Pourquoi tu ne pardonnes pas?
Pourquoi tu ne te maitrises pas ?
Pourquoi tu ne te réserves pas ?
Pourquoi tu rends le mal contre
le mal ?
Tu sèmes la terreur partout où tu passes.
Tu ne crains personne
Tu n’épargne personne
Tu ne négocies pas
Mais tu traites avec la force
Et tout le monde se lamente de toi
Car tu es l’ennemie de la paix. ~Author’s name withheld for privacy and security reasons
ABFEK also performed a play to highlight the plight of women’s lives without equal rights and understanding. Using humor and pathos to educate and inform, the play covered a range of issues facing these women, girls and men in their community on a daily basis.Using hyperbole to show the disparity of home life and housework, the play asked the question, do men think women have a thousand hands? They must, if they don’t offer to help as she goes to collect firewood, fetch water, cook food, mop the dirty floor, take care of the kids, go to market for trade and when she comes back she gives the earnings to the “king” husband.The play addressed the lack of basic, equal rights in marriages where men can decide at any time to reject their wives for no reason, can divorce their wives simply because they never give birth to baby boys. Men who say women have no right to inheritance. Who make decisions about everything in family life, able to sell the property of the family without asking the opinion of the wife. An opinion that doesn’t count in bed either, for men who decide when to have sex, regardless of how the women feel. Men who decide what types of food a woman is allowed to eat. Families who cannot afford to send all their children to school and discriminate against girls for being born a girl, and choose to educate a boy, even when he is not as good a student as their girl.We’re so thankful for the women using poetry, plays and songs to change their lives, and the men who are awake and aware and are fighting alongside them for equal rights! Your support helps send girls to school alongside their brothers, teaches women a trade to support themselves and their families, and reminds us all that we stand together, and what affects one of us affects us all.