“No to Sexual Violence,” the signs read. Women in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have endured years of sexual violence, and they took to the streets Sunday carrying signs and demanding change, Al Jazeera reported.
This week the United Nations accused DR Congo government troops of rape and killing in eastern DRC. Roger Meece, a senior UN official, appeared before the security council on Friday and said, “The best data available, for example, suggests that over 15,000 rapes were committed last year in eastern DRC.
Enough is Enough
Aware that members of the international community are paying increasing attention to the enormous problems in DRC, about 1,700 women joined in march, led by the president’s wife, Olive Lembe Kabila. The women were attending a week-long forum on peace and development in Bukavu, the capital of the South Kivu province.
The march was peaceful and defined by colorful signs taking a stance against these atrocities.
“Coming here is important because violence towards women is used systematically as a weapon of war,” said Miriam Nobre, an organiser of the march with the World March of Women.
“We have fought this for years, and now it seems that the international community is genuinely interested in our problems,” said Nene Rukunghu, a doctor at a hospital in Bukavu where rape victims are treated.
“We must fight against impunity, so that the perpetrators of violence are punished, to allow women can regain their dignity. Despite what they endure, Congolese women are strong and able to stand up again,” she said.
The UN Population Fund reports that there were 17,507 sexual violence attacks throughout Congo in 2009, 9,000 of which were committed in North and South Kivu, the center of the conflict.
These heartbreaking statistics are numbing, even for me. It is easy to forget that each “1” represents a human being. Read my posts, Rape in Congo: UN Admits Failure and In DRC, More “Concrete Action” Needed, for more information on the conflict in Congo and ways to get involved.