My name is Hellen Lunkuse W. Tanyinga - https://vimeo.com/287109044 born and raised in Kamuli Busoga region in Eastern Uganda. I am the Founder & Executive Director of an Inclusive Human Rights Organization called Rape Hurts Foundation (RHF) – www.rapehurts.org Allow me to share with you a personal story, a story, as you shall find out, led to the birth of RHF, the organization through which I serve Women and Children especially Victims of Gender Based Violence, Homophobia, Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery in Uganda.
At the age of 11, on Tuesday July 25 1995 started like any other normal day in my life, I went to school and did my house chores, I had no idea this was the day I was going to be raped! While completing one of my last chores of the day – returning from fetching water from the village-well, on that moonless 8:00PM night, a man threw me down, pounced on me – I will save you the details! What I will tell you openly, though, is that Rape Hurts! Everything about rape hurts so much. The helplessness I felt in that dark night, the loud cries I made for help to no response, the fact that I knew the adult man who was raping me as someone supposed to protect me, the fact that even after being raped I still feared to report the man who raped me to my polygamous father, the fact that on reporting the man who raped me my father did not only blame me for being raped but wanted me to get married to the man that hurt me so much, the many other facts I cannot mention here, all of them have create a lifelong trauma which I wish not any other woman or girl to experience. My mother was battered when she tried to stop my father from marrying me off, she lost her marriage and had to raise us as a single mother. The feeling of ‘being a victim but at the same time blamed by society’, the feeling of vulnerability, fear, insecurity, and shame from within my soul, and from the environment around me - my home, my village, my school, and my community are what made rape hurt me much. Going through painful physical and emotional struggles after I was raped, and observing the struggles many other victims of rape undergo changed me. I quickly learned that am not alone and that the sexual minorities are even in a worse situation since they are marginalized. In the 1999, I witnessed a cultural ceremony where a young lady was ritually raped to heal her of lesbianism and she was forced to become a wife of her rapist, it was such a traumatizing experience and 20years later I still get nightmares about the events of that day.
RHF is an Inclusive Human Rights Organization working with Sexual Minorities and Victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) including Human Trafficking, and Sex Slavery in Busoga Eastern Uganda. RHF uses a holistic approach to serve and reach out to our target groups. We have created Safe Spaces and Relocation for the victims at Risk, Promotion of Health & Care, and Emergency Rapid Response to cases of Violence and Referrals, Skilling of the Target Groups for Economic Independence for the Victims, in partnership with Thomson Reuters Foundation – TrustLaw UK we have addressed Legal issues, Awareness & Advocacy for Human Rights. In the last Eleven years, we have reached out to over 850,000 beneficiaries (Women & Children). Currently the construction of another Modern GBV Shelter with a capacity of 80 clients and a Women & Children’s Hospital in Jinja are underway.
Am also proud for what I have become over the years. It should go on record that am the 1st female to graduate with a Bachelors’ Degree in our Village. I have become a role-model for many young girls in Kamuli. Girls, who are now changing the status-quo while challenging cultural aspects, state sponsored homophobia and stereotypes.
I would love to talk more with you if you have a moment, having worked in isolation for so long, since we are located outside the city, we now feel the need to network, partner and share ideas with others.
My name is Hellen Lunkuse W. Tanyinga - https://vimeo.com/287109044 born and raised in Kamuli Busoga region in Eastern Uganda. I am the Founder & Executive Director of an Inclusive Human Rights Organization called Rape Hurts Foundation (RHF…