Joyce’s childhood was poor.
She didn't receive an education. When Joyce married, her husband was also poor. They had no money, but life was peaceful.
They survived by keeping goats. The goats could provide them with milk, and manure which can be used as a fertilizer. By breeding goats and selling the offspring they could make a little money too.
Their life changed in an instant, when armed rebels attacked their village. They broke into Joyce's home where she, her husband and children were sleeping.
"It takes real courage to say this, but they raped me and my children were there. My son was ashamed so he shouted out. They killed him."Joyce
After attacking Joyce and killing her son, the rebels stole what little money she had, and her goats.
In the following days and weeks, Joyce's husband began to turn against her. In DR Congo there is often a tremendous stigma around sexual violence.
He said he didn’t like me anymore. He was there, he saw, but he discriminated against me. He abandoned me.Joyce
At the hospital where Joyce was being treated for her injuries, she spoke to the nurses about her husband.
The nurses invited her husband to the hospital and spent time with him. They changed his way of thinking; he understood that what happened was not Joyce's fault. Now, the couple are back together.
From a SCIAF programme, Joyce’s received some land, and tools, seeds and training so she can begin to farm. She also received new goats.
I earn a little money and am able to send my children to school. I didn’t get to study but my children know how to read. Maybe if someone had helped my father, I could have studied too.Joyce
Joyce and her husband also took part in gender equality training provided by SCIAF.
Today, Joyce and her husband have become more of a partnership of equals. They discuss their budget and make important financial decisions together.
Although her life has improved, Joyce still fears the rebels who live in the hills nearby. They still come back to loot, and only a few months ago they attacked a nearby village. Joyce also worries about her husband who has type two diabetes.
By donating to our WEE BOX BIG CHANGE Appeal you can help more women like Joyce who have survived sexual violence.
Please can you help women like Joyce? Thousands of women are in desperate need of support.
At SCIAF, over the next three years, we will help 4,000 women affected by sexual violence in the DR Congo to get the support they need to rebuild their life for the long term.