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"Joy in my life"

In her drawing entitled 'Joy in my life', a 13-year-old girl aspires to be a magistrate when she grows up because of the injustice that she witnessed in her life.

Trigger Warning: this story contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to people who have similar experiences.

She was sexually abused by her stepfather and as a result she fell pregnant. Out of fear of being harassed by her stepfather who had threatened her, she did not disclose the matter to anyone, not even to her mother, because she felt she was supportive of her husband.

The matter eventually came to light and the girl was sent for counselling and medical support by Médecins Sans Frontières, and referred to a place of safety until she gave birth and gave the child up for adoption. Her case was heard in court and the father was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Médecins Sans Frontières continued providing psychosocial support to the mother and her daughter, and assisted the girl throughout the court processes. The girl was pained by the experience as she felt stabbed in her heart. But now she feels that since justice was done, the sky is the limit. She is back in school. She will fly high and fulfill her dream of becoming a magistrate.

At Médecins Sans Frontières’ Mbare Polyclinic in Zimbabwe, victims of sexual violence participate in psychosocial support therapy using a process called body mapping. This creative therapeutic tool gives a voice to survivors through visual artistic expression. It involves drawing pictures, symbols and words to represent their lived experiences, and celebrate their hopes and aspirations for a brighter future.  A group of victims shared their stories in a joint exhibition in Harare in November 2015.