The camp should have been safe the day she was raped. A delegation from the U. That was the day, the girl says, that a Pakistani peacekeeper slipped inside their home and assaulted her in front of the other children. But that was not the end of her story.
Even though she reported the rape, the girl never got any help from the U. She did become pregnant, however, and had a baby. If the U. Of the 2, sexual abuse and exploitation complaints made against U. The embattled African nation is home to the U. During a yearlong investigation, the AP found that despite promising reform for more than a decade, the U. The attack on the year-old was so brazen it still haunts the U. One year later, he helped write a landmark report intended to curb sexual abuse and exploitation within the U.
With rare exceptions, victims interviewed by the AP received no help.
Instead, many were banished from their families for having mixed-race children, who also are shunned, becoming a second generation of victims. The AP even found a girl who was raped by two peacekeepers; she gave birth to two babies by the time she was To this day, the sexual violence by U. William L. Swing was in charge of the Congo mission between May and Januarya period when abuse allegations swelled in a country that has been torn by dictatorship, civil war and unrest for the last half-century.
Swing said the U. Instead, he was named the head of the U. Now, he sits on a new task force appointed to tackle the problem yet again. Swing insists the mistakes made during the early years of the Congo mission provided lessons that could shape new reforms.
The AP found that victims of car accidents involving U. Because those injuries were inflicted during the course of the U. Although the U. The AP independently confirmed a second paternity payment to a Haitian woman earlier this year.
Even after a U. Yet at the yearly U. Poor record-keeping has been a major obstacle to reform. The U. They did not know what became of the orphan. But in just three days last month, the AP found a woman whose story closely matched the one that Zeid, the U.
She was inebriated and living in poverty.
A relative has raised the daughter born as a result of rape as her own. In an interview with the AP, the adoptive mother, Dorcas Zawadi, said she refuses to allow the girl near U. In interviews with nearly a dozen women who said they were raped by peacekeepers, patterns quickly emerged. A woman named Blandine said she was raped as a teenager and became pregnant.
Mission find local sex israelies free dating sites
Her son Michael, now 8, only knows that the man was a foreigner from one of the U. She and nine other sexual abuse victims interviewed in eastern Congo asked that only their first names be used because of what they endured. Like his mother, the boy is shunned by villagers, left to play only with the other children of peacekeepers.
The mothers babysit for one another, sharing responsibilities and the reality of being effectively sentenced to a lifetime of poverty from a single, violent moment in their youths. The women told the AP stories of not being able to finish their studies, of being thrown out of their homes for getting pregnant, and of not being able to find husbands because of their mixed-race children.
One thing they all want is financial help to raise their kids.
The key to that is establishing paternity, which is elusive for most now that their attackers have long since gone home to their own countries. Blandine remembers looking at a lineup in hopes of identifying the man who raped her, a peacekeeper she said came from Morocco.
Related to mission find local
But the U. When it comes to justice or transparency, the U. As part of its investigation, the AP contacted nearly two dozen countries. None was willing to detail how many of its troops had been accused or the punishments imposed in substantiated cases, underscoring an overall lack of ability.
Today, the U. Bora was 11 years old the first time. She had no idea she could file a complaint after being raped by a peacekeeper who had offered her bread and a banana. As a result, there was no physical evidence that could have confirmed the rape.
She gave birth to a son she named John. Estranged from her family, she could no longer go to school.
Two years later, when Bora was 13, another peacekeeper took advantage of her, and she became pregnant a second time. As she talked to an AP reporter, she looked away at a concrete wall in the bare room, telling the story of her life as if it had happened to someone else. An uncle took custody of her children after seeing how the teen was struggling.
At times, Bora has gone as long as a year without being able to visit. More than a decade after the peacekeeper scandal surfaced inthe cases continued. In the Congolese village of Mavivi, about a dozen women, half of whom were minors at the time, said they had been impregnated by peacekeepers in recent years. She thought he wanted phone credit.
In a rare move, she reported the rape and identified the peacekeeper she thought fathered her child. Tanzania went ahead and conducted DNA testing, but the test was not a match. Now she struggles to raise her 2-year-old child on her own. The year-old orphan who said she was raped by a Pakistani peacekeeper did not recover from her attack.
Avoid free portals
Friends and relatives say she soon turned to alcohol to numb her pain. Zawadi says she whisked the child away when she still was a baby out of fear the mother would harm her. They know her as my biological child, even with her pale skin. When Zawadi rescued the child, she gave the girl a new name, a name she prayed would give her a better life despite the circumstances of how she came into the world.
Dodds reported from several towns and cities in Haiti, Geneva and London. UN peacekeepers in Congo hold record for rape, sex abuse.
Connect with the definitive source for global and local news. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.