Girls leaving armed groups in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are often rejected by their families upon their return home, finds What the Girls Say, a new report by Child Soldiers International. The report, released on the 19th of June, reveals that a majority of the girls experienced sexual violence whilst in armed groups. For many, this violence was a daily reality.
This report reveals the experiences of the girls in their own words, and shows the heavy stigmatization that the girls face after leaving militias. For many, this discrimination was a great source of emotional suffering and for some, this rejection causes them to re-join the armed groups. Others did not try to come home at all, fearing that they would be rejected.
Girls account for 40% of underage soldiers in armed groups in Eastern DRC. Of the 150 girls interviewed in the report, two thirds had been abducted by the groups, whilst one third joined voluntarily.
Read the full report from Child Soldiers International here.
Read about the Wamare Institute in Uganda for women formerly abducted by the LRA militia group.
Read about the Reintegration Programme assisting women formerly abducted by the LRA and their children born as a result of the abduction and subsequent rape, to reunite, reconcile and reintegrate with their families, clans and communities in northern Uganda.