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DR Congo Women Say No to Sexual Terrorism

DR Congo Women Say No to Sexual Terrorism

First Lady of Democratic Republic of Congo Olive Lembe Kabila led 1,700 women in a march against rape on Sunday. Organized by World March of Women along with local women’s groups, the aim was to not only bring international attention to the mass rapes in the nation but also to remove the stigma attached to rape survivors. Besides activists, some rape survivors left the hospital to participate, carrying banners with slogans such as “No to Sexual Terrorism.”

The march concludes the 3rd International Action of the World March of Women, a week-long forum that brought over 1,000 women from all over the world to discuss women’s development, peace and violence against women. The forum was created to strengthen women’s participation in social dialogue as a leading force in conflict prevention and resolution.

Deemed the rape capital of the world, DR Congo had over 17,500 violent sexual assaults in 2009, and 7,685 attacks between January and June of this year. Rape is used as a weapon of war, with the perpetrators being both government troops and rebel soldiers. Although a U.N. document shows the epidemic has been a problem for at least 15 years, rape survivors are only now starting to testify before a high-level U.N. panel.

General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Sharan Burrow notes that the rape epidemic requires a multi-pronged approach. “The only way to achieve [peace] is to tackle every aspect of the conflict, including the illegal exploitation of natural resources, the many shortfalls in terms of governance, the endemic poverty and the lack of decent work opportunities for men and women. Social dialogue is a key factor in securing peace and bringing an end to the intolerable acts of violence committed against women.”

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Urge UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to ensure the women of the Congo will never be subjected to a tragedy like this again.

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27 comments

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3:22AM PDT on Mar 19, 2011

Important and changes will come,thats only right, and
no one can stop it when people comes together for human rights.
Enough is enough so lets take a stand and react.

1:10PM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

Not near enough is being done internationally to expose the mass rape of women in the DRC!!

9:50AM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

Hey, trying to sign the petition, but it keeps coming up as Page Not Found. Can this be fixed? I'd love to sign!

9:28AM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

These women rock!!!!!!!

7:28AM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

Yay women of the Congo, stay strong and persevere wrong is wrong and no means no.

7:07AM PDT on Oct 20, 2010

Women are people too... not chattel, not possessions. We are viable, important, vital human beings. We need to stand together and say "NO!" to those in this world who would subjugate us and use sexual force as a way to shame us about our gender and our existence.

May we all be as brave as these survivors, and never forget that when we remain silent about these atrocities, we become accomplices.

11:01PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

it`s about time, thanks for the article

8:56PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

Good for these women in taking a stand! Hopefully more will join the cause and things will change for the better.

3:31PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

What to do about such a horrible situation. If the UN had any influence, they should be a peace keeping force there.

8:32AM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

Good article. Women empowering women.
It's hard to imagine such blatant and
abundant violence. It really is time
to stop this.

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