BANGUI (AP) — The peacekeepers motioned to the teenage girl weaving through the sprawling camp in the baking afternoon sun selling bananas from a plate atop her head. Soon their real intentions were clear: They yanked her inside their tent and began unbuttoning their pants.
Just 16 years old, she cried and pleaded with them to let her go, telling them she was menstruating in hopes it would dissuade them. Then three men gang-raped her one by one. As she trembled on the ground afterward in fear, they laughed and ate the bananas on her plate. Then they shouted at her to leave.
The attack she alleges happened that day did not kill her, but the torment and stigma that followed just might, she says. A few of her peers saw what happened and it wasn’t long before the taunts began, unspeakably cruel even when coming from the mouths of children. They still call her “Miss Sangaris,” a reference to the name of the French peacekeeping mission that implies she is the soldiers’ girlfriend.
She has never reported to any authorities what happened to her that day — even the very sight of another peacekeeper walking by sends her stomach into knots, she says.‘
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