VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Tree of Life Foundation International and the Hear Congo Foundation visited Africa on October 13, 2010. Since the devastating conflict in the DRC began in 1998, rape sometimes by groups as large as twenty men, have become hallmark of the conflict, with armed factions often using it as part of a calculated strategy to destabilize opposition groups, undermine fundamental communities values, humiliate the victims and witnesses, and secure control through fear and intimidation. It is not unusual for mothers and daughters to be raped in front of their families and villages. Young girls are also regularly abducted and held captive for years to be used as sexual slaves by combatants and their leaders.
Dr. Joseph Mibi from the Medical Center St.Vincent-Bukavu, says that rape of girls as young as three and women over 70 have been reported. Medical Center St. Vicente has reported 400 cases of rape per year, where 48 of the women get pregnant and 168 are infected with HIV virus.
Dr. Joseph Muyumba from Dom Bosco Medical Center- Goma, accommodates victims of sexual abuse and gives access to medical care for HIV positive patients children and adults. Victims are frequently left with serious physical injuries, which can go untreated due to a lack of access to medical care. Dom Bosco provides access to medical care for all community needs, and also provides school and educational programs to teach individual skills for all types of labor.
We visited few villages where we found widows, abused women and children being helped by few humanitarian Congolese that were also victims of the violence. The humanitarians Congolese take care of 750 women, helping them with psychological problems, human rights, food, medical supplies, etc. Tree of Life Foundation International provided the villages, Heal Africa, Dom Bosco and Medical Center St. Vincent with medical supplies, including antibiotics and HIV medications, baby formulas, hygiene kits and monetary donations.
After visiting a few villages, we had one of the women describe for us what ?happened to her. She says: “They attacked at night, locked people in their houses?and burned them inside their homes. No one in my family survived. They found me while I was trying to hide and took me into the forest to rape me. I was raped by four of them at least, but then I lost consciousness and couldn’t count anymore. I was in the bush with them for one week and became pregnant because of the rape.
Amanda Schumacher participated on the third World March of Women, which is a world movement organized by women to fight inequalities and gender based discriminations, more particularly those suffered by women. Its objective is to make a better world in which quality, freedom, solidarity, justice and peace would prevail.
Tree of Life Foundation International is partnering with Heal Africa along with First Lady of Congo and DRC Minister of Gender, Ms. Marie-Ange Lukiana to fight violence against women and eradicate poverty among them and the improvement in women’s condition in DRC.
It is estimated that in the last 6 years, more than 4.0 million people have died and millions have been displaced due to the violence, starvation and diseases. We are hopeful because of the resilience of these survivors and their determination to speak out to stop these crimes.
Recipients of the 2008 and 2011 Global Heart Award
The Women’s Faith Forum is a gathering of women dedicated to helping and empowering other women’s visions. The Women are committed to sharing ideas, opportunities, and experiences to create endless opportunities by joining a diverse, knowledgeable group of women.
Founder: Kaleiba Ngoie
Beautiful Congo, once a peaceful nation where women and girls freely worked their fields, where people fished, planted and hunted in the forest, where children joyfully walked to school without fear, is now the war-torn heart of Africa where over six millions lives have been lost, where tens of thousands of women and girls are sexually violated and critically wounded, where children die of preventable diseases and are unschooled, where men are humiliated and defenseless. Meanwhile, hope, courage and integrity thrive amidst the chaos. Please join us as we dare to hope for Congolese men, women and children, one life at a time. Please join us to bring peace and freedom to the Congo.
In Congo DRC, thousands of women die of cancer, without ever knowing what disease they have and without ever having the chance to get treatment.
Mission: Our commitment to the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo is to provide medical assistance, training and outreach programs to empower themselves socially and economically.