Fighting the Silence

Copyright WCC

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was at war from 1998 until 2004.  It was invaded by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi in 1998.  The ensuing conflict lasted officially until 2004, but continues to flare up today.  Eventually Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Sudan and Chad joined DRC in the counter attack.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998 over 5.4 million people have died as a direct result of the war. The population of DRC is 56 million

Rape is used systematically as a weapon of war. Statistics are difficult to verify since social stigma and social chaos mean many rapes go unreported.

  • In 2006, 27,000 women and girls reported being raped in DRC’s South Kivu province.
  • DRC rape victims have been as young as 3 years old and as old as 70.

There are only 250 miles of paved roadway in the DRC which is the same size as Western Europe.

The diamond industry in the DRC is worth $870 million/yr.   Most miners earn less than $1 per day.

In Congo, rape is a taboo subject. Women who have been raped are afraid of humiliation, rejection and ostracisation. Often the victims are abandoned by their husbands and accused by their neighbours of adultery, or of having encouraged their violators. They lose their security and their future. The community turns its back on them just at the time they most need care and understanding.  For many years this was the fate of the victims, but  as this film shows, recently there has been a glimmer of hope.  A movement is growing which gives women a voice; helps them break the vicious circle of pressure, submission and oppression.

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