Angelina* speaks to UNICEF about her experiences in an armed group. © UNICEF/UN013282/LeMoyne
At first I didn’t like it there, but then I met someone. We were together for a year before he was killed in battle. He was in another location and I only learned about his death six months later.
When I joined, my daughter was still a baby. I wasn’t there during the first years of her life and I will never get that time back. I would often call home to ask about her. But it’s not the same. Now that I’m back, she wants to be with me all the time. She tells me she loves me and begs me not to leave her again. When she says that, I go to my room and start crying. I haven’t been a mother to her.
This woman, now an adult, spent many of her teenage years with the armed group in Colombia. © UNICEF/LeMoyne
It’s very important to have a partner there. It can be of great support. When we have to move, a partner can help you carry your load. Partners live together and if one of them has to go on mission, they can wait for each other if they’re in love. But men don’t wait for women.
The first time I was in a battle I was very scared because I didn’t know how to handle a gun.
Sometimes I would cry and pray to God to give me strength to carry on. It’s not a good place for children or even adults. People don’t know how hard it is. If you can’t defend yourself, you can die.