Democratic Republic of Congo: Letter from the world capital of rape

I am writing these words from the world capital of rape. I’m not the one who named it that way, but Margot Wallström, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations, with regard to violence against women. So you understand, I am in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country where women face the cruelest and most brutal violence in the world.


I work in this country with an organisation that works to ensure women’s rights are respected. And as the good feminists we claim to be, we are not sitting in our homes, over a cup of tea feeling sorry for ourselves. We take our lives into our own hands; we ask for more security, more services to help women survivors of violence; and an end to impunity for those who rape, torture and kill women.


Since resources are scarce and the country is large (roughly the size of Western Europe as a whole), and there is an important lack of infrastructure, we opted for information and communication technologies to help increase our voices. To give a visual strength to our anger and our determination to change things, along with several millions of supporters around the world, we record the testimonies of victims, but especially those who have survived the events that could bury them alive.


We use also community radio to overcome language barriers and to bypass the media which ask for money to help us.


We will show young women from universities and high schools of the country how to pass trough their exams without sleeping with a lecherous professor : By simply denouncing them using a mobile application and letting organizations specialized in the field to take on the case.


We teach women and girls to speak out about what happens to them, talk about the world they want to live in, far from all fear, any violence, any trauma.


We teach women how to blog, broadcast radio shows, take pictures, document their lives. Only then can we say that the Congo without violence, is what we had created.


Twenty three organisations representing eleven provinces of the DRC responded to the call for application of projects aiming to enhance a strategic use of information and communication technologies to fight violence against women. Four of them, will criss-cross the country to impart their knowledge to women. Bravo.


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*This blog was originally written for APC site: www.apc.org . To view the original article please go to http://www.apc.org/en/blog/letter-world-capital-rape

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Thanks for this powerful post, Francoise. It really made an impact on me. And what I really liked was that wrote about DRC women taking action, working together and fighting violence. So much of the news one reads about VAW in DRC portrays women as helpless, passive victims. It would be good to read more about the work as it progresses. Bravo indeed!
Posted on 10/27/2010 - 10:41 | Reply

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