Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Systematic violence against women in the Congo
A must-read from founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls.
"Nothing I have heard or seen compares with what is going on in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where corporate greed, fueled by capitalist consumption, and the rape of women have merged into a single nightmare. Femicide, the systematic and planned destruction of the female population, is being used as a tactic of war to clear villages, pillage mines and destroy the fabric of Congolese society.
"In 12 years, there have been 6 million dead men and women in Congo and 1.4 million people displaced. Hundreds and thousands of women and girls have been raped and tortured. Babies as young as 6 months, women as old as 80, their insides torn apart. What I witnessed in Congo has shattered and changed me forever. I will never be the same. None of us should ever be the same.
"I think of Beatrice, shot in her vagina, who now has tubes instead of organs. Honorata, raped by gangs as she was tied upside down to a wheel. Noella, who is my heart -- an 8-year-old girl who was held for 2 weeks as groups of grown men raped her over and over. Now she has a fistula, causing her to urinate and defecate on herself. Now she lives in humiliation.
"I was in Bosnia during the war in 1994 when it was discovered there were rape camps where white women were being raped. Within two years there was adequate intervention. Yet, in Congo, femicide has continued for 12 years. Why? Is it that coltan, the mineral that keeps our cell phones and computers in play, is more important than Congolese girls?
"Is it flat-out racism, the world's utter indifference and disregard for black people and black women in particular? Is it simply that the UN and most governments are run by men who have never known what it feels like to be raped?"
Labels: women and families
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Women have been subjected to violence throughout history, and although this horrendous action is condemned by all societies, it is still prevalent in many, especially the third world countries. In a survey carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005, out of the ten counties surveyed, more than 50 percent of women in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru and Tanzania reported having been subjected to physical or sexual violence by intimate partners, with figures reaching a staggering 71 percent in rural Ethiopia. Only in Japan, less than 20 percent of women report incidents of domestic violence.
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