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I can’t breathe in a rapist’s world

A photographic project highlighting the need to fight sexual violence against women and girls around the world by Ivanovitch Ingabire.

Ivanovitch Ingabire is a Burundian photographer and video maker currently living in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi.  He is working as a volunteer with Fraternidade Sem Fronteiras, an NGO helping refugees through the Ubuntu Nation Project.  

His photographic work started in 2010 when he joined the Burundi Film Centre to receive training in Film and Documentary Production. 

In Ivanovitch’s own words: “Photography allows me to capture the moments along the way, big or small, the moments we never want to forget.  My camera is my third eye and third hand, so every time I am alert and seeking for the best angles, best light, and best natural moments of people so I can surprise them in the way I see them. I’m in this field as a big passion and I know how important is the quality, not the quantity.” 

His latest photographic work, “I can’t breathe in a rapist’s world“, reflects on the importance of combating the problem of rape: the worst form of gender-based violence. This project has been produced thanks to the support of models and collaborators who are themselves reside in the Dzaleka camp. Below we present Ivanovitch’s images and text.



I can’t breathe in a rapist’s world


Save our girls



Rape is shutting down the girl’s dream



Help HER to break this silence



A real MAN doesn’t rape



You don’t need to be a superhero to be a real man



It was just last month when I had a conversation with a mother living in the Dzaleka refugee camp whose seven year old daughter got raped by a 35 year old man who happened to be their neighbour. Shortly after the incident, the man ran away to another country. It is very sad and unfortunate that the young girl never obtained justice.

This incident led me to take these pictures of awareness against rape as personally I consider rapists to be killers with mental problems because they satisfy their needs by killing the future of our sisters.

Victims of rape and sexual abuse grow up seeing their rapist’s face in their dreams. Grow up with broken hearts and bitter emotions, and also end up growing up with bad feelings toward the other gender because of what the rapist did to them.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and is one of  20 countries with the most victims of child abuse and the highest incidence of Intimate Partner Violence, as this UNICEF Malawi 2020 report highlights.

Between January and October 2020, Malawi recorded a total of 1,738 cases. This is not just happening amongst Malawian citizens, it is also taking place in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp, the largest refugee camp in Malawi, where more than 45,000 refugees and asylum seekers reside.

Women and children are raped and choose not to report their abuse for a variety of reasons. Many prefer to live with this trauma because they fear what the community and the world, in general, will think of them – as shown by this research from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Although most victims choose to hide their rapes, some women do report their cases to the police. However, most rape cases end in injustice with the perpetrators not persecuted as they use corrupt means to silence the police who end up not following up the reports. I believe that if law enforcement takes rape cases seriously and suggests treason as a punishment, rape cases would be reduced.

Rape would also be reduced in the future if parents discussed real sexual issues with their children. Sexual topics in some families are regarded as a taboo but this is something that children must learn. Children must be taught the consequences of various sexual decisions they can make.

Let’s help our sisters to break the silence of rape and save them from the rapists because rapists shut down their dreams.

A normal, real man doesn’t rape.

Let’s stand together against the crime of rape.