It is August 2018, and I am sitting with a reporter in a dark, hot room in the Kasaï region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It all feels like a tragic déjà vu. It has been almost ten years since I was last in the DRC. This time, we are on the other side of the country, in another conflict, covering the same issue – rape and sexual slavery is being used as a weapon of war.
A window in the room illuminates each woman as she tells her story. Some are pregnant or holding a baby. Defiant, brave, tired and far from the world’s attention, each of the women – Kabadi, Njiba, Marcelina, Elise, Vero, Bibisha, Monique, Monika, Tshilanda, Jose and Helene – walks us through the day she was raped and enslaved by armed men or boys, and how she eventually escaped or was released.