"You Survived Where Other Women Died": Masika's Field of Hope by Alex Snider

Wow, wow, *deep breath* wow, I watched an incredible documentary today, Field of Hope, on the English Al Jazeera site about a Congolese rape survivor who has a home for other survivors of rape, their children (often by rape) and children orphaned by rebel fighting. From Al Jazeera:

"In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, every hour in the day some 48 women are raped. That is around 1,100 rapes a day, leaving many thousands of women and children with broken lives and little hope for their futures.

"But one woman, herself a rape survivor, is helping to change some of these lives for the better. Masika has set up a place where rape survivors can get support, counselling and, uniquely, start to make a living.

"With bits and pieces of money she raises, Masika rents a field where the women sow, tend and harvest crops, giving them an income as well as a sense of purpose and direction after their traumas.

"The women, and also their children born of rape, are often hated, abandoned and abused further, but with remarkable compassion Masika takes in yet more abused women and children.

"Despite these impossible circumstances, this Field of Hope helps the women find dignity, purpose, economic independence and some power to rebuild their lives."

The whole doc blew my mind, from the statistics (1,100 WOMEN RAPED EVERY DAY) to the stark and painful tension between a rape survivor and her child conceived through her assault.

From the humour of one women when asked why she didn't fight off the mob of rapists ("There were too many and I hadn't put on this much weight") to the union and solidarity between the women.

From the change that took place between planting the first bean to the first harvest, even on film the sense of pride and hope was palpable, to Masika herself, a woman who survived brutal rapes three times, torture, watching the sexual assault of her daughters, the murder of her husband, the ostracism of her and her children. This woman who despite seeing the worst that life has to offer has given herself, has fought to make the world a better place so that other women and girls who have suffered the same brutalities don't feel hopeless. That is a hero. That is an inspiration.

The whole doc is only twenty-five minutes and I strongly recommend watching it. It will make the world seem a little less horrible (aside from the whole 48 women/raped/hour bit -- more that there are amazing people out there making a difference).

Watch it here.


Alex Snider is a writer by night, student by day, who is currently melting in Toronto. This post originally appeared on her terrific blog, What Fresh Hell Is This?.


Post a Comment