Maria’s sister (name changed for privacy) was married for many years but was unable to have children. Her sister consulted a witch who told her that she would get pregnant if Maria, who was still a virgin, was raped by her brother-in-law. Maria came to visit her sister and brother-in-law who then locked her in the house where she was raped every day by her brother-in-law for over three weeks.
Maria tried to call for help but nobody would help her because they thought she was a mental disabled person.
“Sarah was married for a long time and she couldn’t have children. So, the witch lied to her that I am the answer. When I went to visit her, she locked me in the same room with her husband to rape me. I tried to call for help but nobody rescued me and nobody even cared because she told the neighbours that I am mentally disabled person and that she will take me to the hospital” Maria said.
After 3 weeks Maria managed to escape. She tried to report the married couple to the police but no one believed her. She was pregnant and could not get help.
“When I escaped, I didn’t really know where I was going. I was rescued by an old lady who took me to the police. All they did was to ask for my telephone number and said that they would call me later. I waited for more than two months. I went there to ask the progress of my case and they told me that my case was closed. By chance, I talked to another woman about the violence I had suffered, and she told me about Haguruka. When I went at Haguruka, they understood me and immediately they provided me with an advocate who helped me in the court. I didn’t pay anything because Haguruka paid everything. They understood me and showed me that I was not alone”.
Maria found the justice she deserved. The rapist was sentenced for five years in jail and ordered to pay three million Rwandan francs in damages. Maria is living with her child. She cannot forget what happened to her, but she is happy she was helped.