Giorgia Nicatore

Giorgia Nicatore (Sini Sanuman in Mali): Italian by birth, Giorgia grew up in Belgium. Before her fellowship, she studied the philosophy of war at King's College London. She also worked in Senegal, Gambia and Guinea-Bissau where she discovered the power of local peace-building. Giorgia took a semester off from studying for a Master's in Conflict Resolution at Georgetown University in Washington to work in Mali. After her fellowship Giorgia wrote: “Six months in Mali and I don’t want to leave. I am not tired. I have found wonderful friends and accomplices in this city, in this country; I feel that this project, that I am fortunate to be part of, has the potential to have a real impact, and indeed already has.”

By H3J1U

26 Aug

This story comes from Bourem, Gao region, Northern Mali.

By H3J1U

“I was at home alone with my mum that Thursday, and it was around noon when two rebels showed up at our door with guns. They were shouting “where are the men”. My mum replied saying that we were alone, and that my father had passed away. She then asked what they wanted, and one of the rebels pointed at me and said: “that one, that one is what we want”. My mother replied in kind saying “she’s my daughter, leave her alone, she has done nothing wrong”.

One of the rebels said in the Tamasheq language [the language of the Tuareg]  “take the girl”, then they began hitting my mum. I began crying, and my mum was crying too, telling them to leave me alone, that I’m all that she has left, and that I’m already an orphan. They took me in the shed in the courtyard by force and one of them jumped on me, tore my clothes off and began having sex with me; when he was done the other one did the same thing. I cried until I lost my voice. No one was around to come to my rescue and I lost consciousness.

When I woke up, I was hurting badly and I was bleeding – my mum cleaned me up, then I spent one week locked indoors, crying. I don’t know what to do now.”

H3J1U is currently in the company of twenty-nine other survivors of sexual and gender based violence in Sini Sanuman’s reintegration centre in Bourem. She is being followed by a psychologist who is helping her recover from her trauma, and she is following group skills training to regain confidence in herself and her abilities.

Posted By Giorgia Nicatore

Posted Aug 26th, 2014


  • Shannon Orcutt

    August 27, 2014


    Thank you for sharing her story. This is such a horrible thing for anyone to experience but I’m glad Sini Sanuman is there to support the women and girls in Mali who have experience these atrocities.

  • Kathryn Dutile

    August 29, 2014


    Heartbreaking story and extremely powerful work Sini Sanuman is doing.

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