Women sexually abused during Central African Republic conflict

World Today

Hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the conflict in the Central African Republic. Many women are dealing with more than just the scars of battle, they’re also victims of sexual assault.
CCTV Africa’s Peninah Karibe filed this story from Bangui, Central African Republic.

Women sexually abused during Central African Republic conflict

Women sexually abused during Central African Republic conflict

Hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the conflict in the Central African Republic. Many women are dealing with more than just the scars of battle, they're also victims of sexual assault. CCTV Africa's Peninah Karibe filed this story from Bangui, Central African Republic.

In a house on the outskirts of Bangui, 26 year old Yassingba Ursula calmly tended to her morning chores.

Beneath the calmness is a wounded young woman.

Her country has been riven by violence, inflicted mainly by a militia known as Seleka and their enemies, the anti-Balaka.

Ursula is one of the many who suffered first-hand.

“In April 2013 my husband left for work as usual. He was a taxi driver. Later that evening he didn’t come home. We later heard on the radio that he had been kidnapped by the Seleka,” Ursula said.

She took her baby daughter to a camp for refuge.

And the next day, returned with her sister to collect their belongings.

“More than 5 Seleka members attacked us in the house and raped us. I lost consciousness,” Ursula said.

She woke in hospital where she was admitted for three days. But the trauma was too much.

When she became too mentally unstable to care for her child, her family took the baby and put Ursula in a house.

In that house she heard about a counselling center, for survivors of rape and other forms of violence.

“When a victim comes we first register her and get her number. Then we identify what kind of assistance they need. We offer counselling, legal assistance for those who want to press charges and we also equip them with basic life skills,” Martine Neleyo of Bangui counselling center said.

The worst of the violence may be over in Bangui but this center continues to be a testament to the trauma many residents face.

Everyday of the week an average 20 new cases are registered, from looting to murder and rape.