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Reform Magazine | March 30, 2017

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Christian Activist: Repaying evil with good

Christian Activist: Repaying evil with good

christian_activistAnnet Ttendo’s story of surviving rape and campaigning for justice

“It was really for vengeance that I
originally studied law”

When I was 13, a stranger raped me. No one knew, until my mother realised I was pregnant. Though a devout Catholic, she said: “You could have an abortion and go back to school.” Even today, I’m still surprised she gave me a choice, as in Ugandan culture, our parents tell us what to do.

I asked for a night to think. If my father found out, he would not believe I’d been raped, so I’d be married off and my education would be over, and then he would throw out my mother, thinking she had arranged the pregnancy to lower my bride price. I could not sleep that night. I knew it didn’t matter if I kept the baby or not – there was no way I would survive this.

“Let me die honourably,” I told my mother the next morning. If I died while she helped me to have an abortion, she would be blamed and carry a stigma for the rest of her life, but, if I died giving birth, no one would blame her.

So we made a plan: My mother and I confronted the family of my attacker. Of course he denied responsibility. My mother threatened to take him to court. “You’ve destroyed my daughter’s education,” she said: “You’ve destroyed her life.” Eventually, they made an agreement and talked out the details in front of me. They decided that I would carry the pregnancy to term and after the child was weaned my attacker’s family would support it and take care of my education.

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This is an extract from the March 2015 edition of Reform.

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