Monday, March 11, 2013

Rape & Murder: The Challenges Women FACE in the Congo

I attended the parallel event "Video Advocacy and Working with Traditional Leaders as Allies in Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence". This event was hosted by Rosalie Nezien from the American Jewish World Service  and Amy Bisno, Program Associate of the American Jewish World Service which  featured two Congolese human rights activists for ending sexual and gender-based violence in eastern Congo. They have been using strategies including and leveraging traditional leaders and men to be allies in the women's rights movement.

In 2011, 6,334 women in the Congo were raped. We viewed  a video where the soldiers forced there way into a young lady's home.  The soldiers raped her and shot her numerous times. Please view this video and hear her story! Her voice needs to be heard!!!!

Please view this video:

There has been armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo for 20 years. Women and children are impacted greatly and they are treated horribly; however, there is HOPE! Women like Josephine Kavira Malimukono, Program Coordinator, League of Congolese Solidarity(LSC) and Chantal Adjelani Kakozy, Director of Women's Solidarity for the Well-being of Families(SOFIBEF) is on the front lines in their efforts to obtain rights for women in the Congo.  These women have been threatened and have faced intimidation  and gender based violence. But, they continue the fight!!!!

Chantal Kakozy of SOFIBEF explained that another main challenge is that "human rights leaders have a lot of threats." IT IS MORE DANGEROUS TO BE A WOMAN THAN A SOLDIER IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO".  They are using various videos advocacy as a way to promote human rights. The people in the North Kivi area in the Congo are hoping that these videos will promote national and international advocacy. One glimmer of hope that is happening is that there have been ten marriages that were registered. This is important because when a marriage is registered with the traditional leaders empowers the women to gain land rights.

Videos are necessary because these videos provide a voice to those would who would otherwise have no voice or resources to tell their story. Josephine Malimukono of South Kivi shares the videos to raise awareness at the local level. By using the videos allows her group LSC to reach out to many women and gives them a voice.When the women would report what happened in the Congo the officials did not believe them. Working with many allies and using videos brings awareness to human rights abuses.

I applaud these women in their steadfast commitment to combat the gender based violence in the Congo! If you would like to get involved please contact Amy Bisno, Program Associate at the American Jewish World Service at or 212.792.2840 and you can contact Josephine Malimukono at

Pictured Amy Bisno (Program Associate American Jewish World Service, Rev.Laetitia Wells (Ecumenical Women and Presbyterian Women, PC(USA), and Josephine Malimukono (Program Coordinator, League of Congolese Solidarity(LSC)  at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations

LSC - League of Congolese Solidarity ----works to tackle the impunity of sexual violence by collecting survivors' testimonials through video and uses it for lobbying for justice and influencing changes in social and cultural attitudes that undermine the rights of women and girls. Please go to to view the video "Our Voices Matter: Congolese Women Demand Justice and Accountability"

SOGIBEF - Women's Solidarity for the Well-being of Families- works with women urvivors of sexual and gender-based violence. It organizes solidarity groups, provides holistic psychosocial support and legal accompaniment, economic empowerment opportunities, land rights dialogues, and leadership training. It also runs radio ads on gender issues. The organization leverages traditional leaders and men as allies to promote the rights of women and girls in Fizi territory of South Kivu.

Please keep our sisters in the Congo in prayer!

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