Saturday, February 7, 2009

Atrocities against women in Congo

Turning Pain to Power
Women's Media Center: Disturbing stories out of the Congo: women and young girls raped by militia men in front of their families; rape victims ranging from as young as six months to as old as 83 years; women and girls faced with unwanted pregnancies and raped intentionally by men known to have AIDS... To date an estimated 400,000 women and girls have been raped.

There is also a devastating epidemic of women and girls whose vaginas and reproductive organs have been completely destroyed from being violated with guns, bottles and sticks, often resulting in a condition called fistula, a rupture that results in the uncontrollable leakage of urine and feces. The traumatized rape victims are then further stigmatized and ostracized by their families and communities... 

Says [Dr. Denis] Mukwege, awarded the UN Human Rights Prize in December 2008 for his humanitarian work, 'attacking women, the bearer of life, with this level of terror, I believe it has nothing to do with sexual desire. I think it's about destabilizing society, trying to destroy society.'... [Playwright Eve] Ensler says 'We still live in a world where femicide is taken for granted, where the raping of women, the destruction of women, is a given. Not extraordinary.'

The 'Turning Pain to Power Tour' supports a joint V-Day and UNICEF campaign... The organizers call for specific measures to end impunity for perpetrators and to economically and socially empower women and girls so they can lead in the prevention of sexual violence and in the rebuilding of a country devastated by conflict. The tour will also raise needed funds for the Panzi Hospital and build and open the City of Joy, a center where survivors will be provided with support to heal and training to develop their leadership and life skills.
Image source here.