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Former LRA Abductees Use Stories to Seek Justice For Women

Amony who has since published a book titled “I am Evelyn Amony” says its important for victims of the LRA war in the region to share their story to find healing and encouraged fellow women to write their own stories.
isabelle massons presenting during launch of the travel exhibition in kitgum municipality. photo by julius ocungi

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The Refugee Law Project in collaboration with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights has launched a travelling exhibition in Kitgum district.

The exhibition under the theme Ododo Wa; Stories of Girls in War was launched on Monday at the National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre. 

It traces the journey of two women from northern Uganda who were abducted while still young girls and held in captivity by the Lord’s Resistance Army –LRA rebels. 

The women upon their escape from captivity later became advocates for justice and reparation in the country through sharing their own stories of life in captivity.

Isabelle Masson, a curator at the Canadian Museum says the exhibition is a three years of work with conjugal slavery in war project directed by Professor Annie Buntin.

She says the exhibition that features original drawings created by LRA survivors including Amony and Acan presents experience of girls and women in war in the region. 

Masson says the exhibit focuses on the story of Acan and Amony whose advocacy through storytelling became a process of healing for survivors of the war.

Acan was among the 139 girls abducted in 1996 from St Mary’s College Aboke while Amony was abducted while aged 11 years in 1994.

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 She says the travel exhibition which includes two minutes’ video clips of Acan and Amony sends a universal message that the voices of women In war matters adding that through their stories, such victims can find long-lasting healing.

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Amony who has since published a book titled “I am Evelyn Amony” says it is important for victims of the LRA war in the region to share their story to find healing and encouraged fellow women to write their own stories. 

She noted that through such storytelling, the community is kept informed that the victims who are sometimes stigmatized didn’t purposely join the LRA rebel ranks but were forcefully abducted.

Amony says although it wasn’t easy opening up In the beginning about life in captivity because of stigma in the past, she feels relieved currently that she made her story known publicly.

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Acan, on the other hand, says writing her own stories about life in captivity helped her to get healing that would rather have taken long.

She says through her stories, she wanted to remove the misconception that all those who were in captivity were wrong elements but rather narrate to the world what abductees like her went through in the hands of the LRA rebels.

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The travel exhibition was first launched in Winipeg in Canada. It features original dress worn by Amony and school sweater worn by Acan and their original handwriting and drawings detailing their lives and environment in captivity.

Both Amony and Acan co-founded Uganda Women Advocacy Network with other fellow former LRA abductees in 2008. The organization currently represents more than 800 women formerly abducted by the LRA rebels in northern Uganda.