Logo for the Center for Victims of Torture

Dina’s Story

Client seen at CVT Nairobi

Dina* was living with her parents when they were killed by militia in Congo, so she went to live with her grandmother. But then they too were viciously attacked, and her grandmother was killed as Dina watched. Dina was only a teenager when she was abducted by militia and forced to live with them.

The soldiers took Dina and other girls to their camp, where they were raped daily and forced to do domestic chores. Dina was frequently beaten, threatened with loaded guns, denied food and, at times, sleep.

The camp leader singled Dina out to be his wife and locked her away from the others. Sometimes he would beat her if she refused his advances and threaten to shoot her. She feared he would kill her especially when he realized she was pregnant.

So she ran away with another girl who was also pregnant. They ran for hours until it was night; they did not know where they were running to. Dina’s friend was heavily pregnant and started bleeding. There was nothing Dina could do; she watched her friend die in her arms.

Dina felt terrible that she had to leave her friend’s dead body in the open without a decent burial. As she ran, Dina feared she would die like her friend.

Dina was only a teenager when she was abducted by militia and forced to live with them.”

Dina could not remember how long she ran. Finally, someone gave her money to go to Nairobi, Kenya. Once she was there, she found people from her community, and then she found CVT.

When Dina came to CVT for counseling, she had a little baby girl called Lucky. Dina cried often and spoke with a soft voice, avoiding eye contact. She reported having nightmares of soldiers chasing her or shooting her; sometimes she would remember her friend and start crying. Dina was also struggling with her child, who resulted from rape. She was ashamed to be a mother at such a young age.

The sessions went on for ten weeks, and by the end Dina was laughing more and no longer isolating herself to cry. She was also learning to love her baby and starting to mix freely with the other girls. Dina said CVT walked with her without judging her and gave her hope at time she had lost hope.

At her 12-month follow-up, Dina was strong and happy and felt hopeful about her future. She was well dressed and beautiful. Her baby was doing well, and Dina felt Lucky was a gift from God.

*Name and some details have been changed for safety and to protect confidentiality.
Photo credit:
© Kireev Art | Dreamstime.com

CVT’s work in Nairobi is made possible by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture; United Methodist Women; and the S.L. Gimbel Advised Fund at The Community Foundation – Inland Southern California.

More Stories