Barbara Kim, a 20-year-old victim of rape, carries a three-month-old pregnancy. Her village in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State was sacked by suspected armed men last year. A few months ago, she was at the farm to harvest cassava when two young men accosted and raped her.
Barbara, who lives with her grandmother at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, said she returned to the farm because there was nothing for them to eat.
“Two boys raped me in the farm in March this year when I went to harvest cassava. I cried and returned to the camp but didn’t do anything about it.
“I didn’t report the matter or tell anyone because I didn’t know who to report to. I didn’t take any treatment either because I wasn’t aware of what to do. I am now three months pregnant as a result of the incident,” she narrated.
Babara’s story is one of the numerous rape accounts of women in Benue State, who have been chased out of their villages and are now left to fend for themselves and their families in IDP camps.
In a state where armed conflicts, occasioned by communal clashes and invasion by bandits have driven thousands out of their ancestral homes to now live in government-designated camps, the women who attempt to return to their farms are often targets of sexual assault. However, our correspondent gathered that most of these female victims often suffer sexual violence in silence due to the stigma associated with it.