Stephen Kigoma is a rape survivor. He was raped during the conflict in his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011 but he has kept the sad story to himself since it happened.
‘If I talked about it, I would have been separated from the people. Even those who treated me would not have shaken my hands’ he said as he described his ordeal in an interview with BBC as he encouraged more survivors to come forward.
He continued to say, ‘I hid that I was a male rape survivor. I couldn’t open up becauseit’s a taboo. As a man, I can’t cry. People will tell you that you are a coward, you are weak, you are stupid. They killed my father. Three men raped me, and they said: ‘You are a man, how are you going to say you were raped?’ It’s a weapon they use to make you silent’.
He fled to Uganda in 2011 where got medical help after a physiotherapist treating him for a back problem realised there was more to his injuries. He was taken to see a doctor treating survivors of sexual violence, where he was the only man in the ward.