THE testimony of child victims of sexual violence from around
the world was the centrepoint of one discussion at the conference's
Co-hosted by the charity War Child, and Mark Simmonds, a Foreign
Office Minister, the event looked at what more could be done to
protect children from sexual exploitation.
One of the survivors' stories came from Polline, who was
abducted from her home in northern Uganda aged 14, and spent seven
years asa captive of a rebel group in the bush.
"I suffered sexual violence. I became pregnant, but I lost my
baby," she said. "I suffered through two weeks of labour pains with
no hospital to go to, and then my baby died. We had no hospitals,
and had to deliver children with gunshots all around us in the
"I saw people being killed and women being raped. Girls being
forced to get married to men older than them. I was beaten several
times. I saw myself as nothing, as a nobody."
Another testimony asked what happens to those children who are
born after rape. Lajla Damon was adopted at birth by a British
couple, and raised in the UK, but only found out about the
circumstances of her adoption much later.
"My mother was raped in a concentration camp during the start of
the Bosnian war. The impact of sexual violence meant she couldn't
look at me, and would not want to see me in hospital."
When she was older, Lajla's parents showed her a video they had
made of them talking to her birth mother in Bosnia. She said: "My
birth mother was talking about the ordeal that had happened to
"She said 'If I held that baby I would strangle her.' It shows
the breakdown and the fractures that sexual violence in conflict
can cause. I still don't fully understand it. It was hard to
Both Polline and Lajla said that they had come not just to tell
their stories, but to demand action was taken so that no one else
would have to suffer.
Watch "Don't believe the thumbnail, this video is the
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