This is the true story of one girl from northern Uganda. At ChildVoice, we welcome these child mothers from the bush and begin the process of rehabilitation. They come to us with no love in their hearts, but through counseling and spiritual guidance, they are able to accept the past and find hope for the future. I have been hearing these kinds of story on a regular basis, but up to now have not shared them with many. To truly grasp the situation at hand though, one must first be exposed. For example, did you know that 5.4 million people were killed in what is now known as the Great African War? Did you know it was the deadliest conflict since World War II and it only ended in 2003? That doesn’t even count the war in northern Uganda.

While the war in Uganda is over for now, the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army continue their march of terror through the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic to this day. This is the story of just one girl…there are too many others just like hers. While this story was “lightened” a bit, it is still very disturbing, so please be warned.

My name is *Evelyn, and my life changed forever when I was nine years old. I used to feel safe in my parent’s home, but when the rebels came, even they could not protect me. I was taken in the night. The rebels made me to be one of them. I was young so they knew they could brainwash me more easily. They made me march very far distances and taught me to operate large guns, how to loot and attack. The commanders trusted me because I would commit any atrocity they told me. I don’t know how many people I killed…I lost count. If I refused anything then I was beaten and tortured. They cut my back with a machete to teach me a lesson once, made me sit on dead bodies and participate in ceremonies with their spirits.

I was first given to a man when I was ten years old. I screamed a lot at first…it was so painful. He pointed a gun to my face, so I stopped. After that, he always called on me. When he would go away to fight, other men would have me where they wanted, whenever they wanted. I was weak from lack of food and water, but there was no negotiation.

When I finally escaped, the people there recognized me for what I had done to them in the bush and they beat and stoned me, almost to the point of death. I was taken to another place to be safe, but the man who was assigned to guard me acted just like the men in the bush…I could not refuse. I had nothing to do. I was 13 then.

When I returned home, many people did not accept me. They would disturb me all the time, yelling horrible things to me. I think they were afraid of me because of what I had done before. They didn’t understand that it wasn’t really me then. My parents couldn’t pay my school fees, and I couldn’t go back to a bush, so I felt I had no choice but to go to a man. It was all I knew. So I went. When my brothers forced the man to pay for me, he refused and left me for an older woman, so I was left to care for his child alone. I felt like my life was over at 14.

Since coming to ChildVoice and returning to her home village, *Evelyn started living a good life. She found God and He continues to be a big part of her life. She starting working in a bakery with the vocational skills she learned at ChildVoice and earns enough money to take care of herself and her children now. She lives now with a loving husband and her two children. She hopes to start her own bakery one day. She has a bright future.

*The name has been changed.

"What I Hate Most"