age 16

Stellah was sleeping in the kitchen (a small outhouse next to the main house) when in the middle of the night she was abducted by a group of men. She tried to scream but they held a panga (machete) to her and ordered her to keep quiet. They kept her the entire night and continuously raped her. There were more than 10 men.

In the morning they returned her to the house. After they left, Stellah cried out for her mother, as she could not stand or walk. She was taken to hospital where she received medication. For months she could not sleep or eat and suffered from abdominal pains.

After she found out she was pregnant, she wanted to have an abortion. She was a virgin before she was abducted, so she knew the pregnancy was conceived from the rape. Her mother convinced her not to, informing her of the dangers involved. Many girls had already died from having abortions, being secretive back-street procedures by non-medically qualified people in un-sanitised environments. Stella’s mother promised that she would look after the child so that Stella could continue going to school.

From the trauma Stellah experienced, and remembering the pains of giving birth, she becomes irritated and angry when her daughter cries, and sometimes feels that she wants to kill the child. But to manage this, and when she feels painful, she reads the bible, prays and sings.

Stellah still lives in fear. When she sees a man, she gets flashbacks and relives what happened to her, which disturbs her psychologically and affects her for the rest of the day.

Before counseling, Stellah was very bitter and never wanted to open up. But with time, she began to share her feelings with Hellen and afterwards started eating again, although she is still traumatized in her mind. It is only recently Stellah cried for the very first time – 3 years after the abduction.

Stellah wants forgiveness in her heart and to be able to forgive those who raped her because (she said), they do not know what they were doing. She really wishes she could return to school or attend polytechnical (educational college) to gain skills to support her and her child. She would like to do a course in dressmaking.

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