KREMATIC’S STORY | Surviving and Healing from Sexual Assault & Trauma
Krematic a 23-year-old survivor of rape is rebuilding her life through the psychosocial that she is receiving through the Youth SRHR Friendly space created at the Rubondo HCIII facility in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in southwestern Uganda. At the age of 18, Kremestic, a Congolese refugee was sexually assaulted at age of 18 as she returned from school. At the time, she did not know how to access information and support to take the steps taken to immediately following a sexual assault. For instance, to get the care she needed to prevent unwanted pregnancy, and never found justice for the crime committed against her. Consequently, at the age of 23 she is still picking up the pieces after this traumatic experience that happened 5 years ago. She was banished from her home by her parents due to the stigma associated with raising a single mother coupled with the burden of caring for an additional person in an already resource constrained environment.
The sexual assault impacted my lives in so many ways that I struggling to recover from. I was chased from my home, and I had to find shelter for myself and my child. I was not ready to become a mother and had no support. I was interested in pursuing an education with the hope of improving our lives as family, because it is very hard to survive as refugees in another country. I struggled to find employment and take care of my child at the same time. It is not until I heard about the Shared Action Africa and the programs, they were implementing in my village that I got interested on how I participate to help with my personal healing, and also help others that might be going through the same struggles recover and start a support group that will help us bond around specific activities that we could do together like starting joint income generating activities or forming a savings and lending groups from which we would access small loans to meet our financial needs.
After receiving training from Shared Action Africa on various topics related to adolescent sexual and reproductive care, and learned about how to prevent unwanted pregnancies through emergency contraception, prevention of STIs, particularly HIV through Prep, menstrual hygiene among other topics, I was motivated to serve in the capacity of Peer Educator and Advocacy Champion. Serving in the capacity of advocacy Champion, I am part of Youth SRHR Collective, that brings together 170 other adolescent girls to advocate for spaces to be created at some health facilities so that the young people like myself can access sexual and reproductive health care in a safe environment. Also, through the knowledge acquired through attending group meetings where we are sensitized by our rights to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and the services available at the health facilities, I not only counsel my peers on the same subjects, but I more empowered to make informed decisions, in case I encounter the same situation as I did five years.
In addition to being part of team of committed young people making a difference in our community, I am also earning a monthly stipend from providing SRHR related services to my peers. Similarly, through training provided by Shared Action Africa, I joined a savings and lending group through which I can access some small loans, whenever I have a financial need.
I am particularly happy with the reflective community dialogues conducted for adolescents together with their parents to discuss subjects related to sexuality, a subject that is culturally never discussed by parents with their children. I am very supportive of this activity because if my parents had an opportunity to participate in the same, I would probably be living with my parents now. Such programs are important to change the mindsets of our communities about allowing adolescents and young people to access sexual and reproductive health care to improve our lives.
I would like to urge Shared Action Africa to bring us vocational training programs for single mothers like me so that we can get a second chance in life.
Thank you, SAA, for changing our lives and my community.