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EVAW

This story is part of World Pulse’s Democratic Republic of Congo Regional Focus Campaign to End Violence Against Women. These testimonies, along with hundreds of others, were delivered to the 2013 African Union Summit.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.

Learn more about the campaign.

Listening to the Voices of Congo’s Women

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From a homegrown Internet café in Eastern DRC, 200 Congolese women leaders have come online for the first time.

These women are sharing their stories and calling on the international community to take action. Meet six of these courageous survivors who each bring strong recommendations for moving DRC toward peace.

Neema

Neema Namadamu

A Voice for a United Congo

I was born in a very remote village of South Kivu Province in Eastern Congo. I remember those early years of community, when each family was part of every family around them. We lived and worked together and in support of one another, as if we were all close relatives. Due to the richness of the land and our relationship to one another, we wanted for nothing. Even as the virus of racial separation injected by our colonizers began to infect our remote setting, we still lived above that ideology.

But after the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide fled to my province in 1994, bringing an utter hatred of my ethnicity and a demand for our annihilation with them, a very different world emerged. I was immediately whisked off to university in another country for safety. And when I was able to return a few years later, it seemed that every tribe now saw itself as separate from another. Division had arisen and the family tie of our nation was broken.

I have lived in this conflict zone and seen horrible atrocities. My own daughter was beaten by police forces for no reason. But I have a vision for my country that compels me. It is a big shift, but I have learned that making the impossible possible simply requires a different set of rules.

I have joined a chorus of Maman Shujaa—Hero Women in Swahili—and in harmony we’re raising our voices with all our might. As the women of Liberia stood together and made their wishes known before their government and the world, so are the women of Congo making our wishes known. Abraham Lincoln fought for the rights of those who had been given no rights. We too are tired of being enslaved by the brutal and unbridled passions of unprincipled men and nations.

We need the world to unite with us for Peace’s sake, for all of Congo’s sake, and for the sake of the entire world with which we are One.


Michelline

Michelline Kadorho

A Voice Against Violence

My homeland is the Democratic Republic of Congo—the second largest African country, found at the center of this great continent. We share a border with Zambia, Angola, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and the Republic of Congo.

The beauty of DRC is due to a rich fauna and flora that attracts many international tourists. The east of our country is engorged with vegetation, minerals, and animals like the okapi, mountain gorillas, and hippopotamuses. This is why the East of Congo is of interest to so many in the world, with many wishing to exploit us. Sometimes it feels like violence and war is inevitable as long as our country has all of this richness and beauty.

In DRC, we are victims of war and we are handicapped by profound poverty. As a mother of six (two boys and 4 girls) and an educator—even with my own financial difficulties—the effects of sexual violence on the women of my community has always been my preoccupation. The military and other negative forces, such as the ex-Rwandan army, regularly violate the bodies of women. Women are forced to accept this violence as part of life, or pay with their lives. Women are not only shell-shocked from these violent acts, but also contract sexually transmitted diseases, which causes their husbands to reject them. In fact, a woman who has been raped no longer merits the love of her husband and is treated as unworthy in society.

Impunity is in full effect in DRC, yet those who commit these acts walk along in good health and the government takes no responsibility—especially for victims of sexual violence. It is necessary that women survivors receive assistance from local and international organizations. These women require not just physical care but also moral, educational, and psychological support.


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Comments

amadea's picture

international plea

we are an international organisation face ( forum des associations congolaise de l'étranger) eforum of congolese organisations abroad...
We are from de congolese diaspora, we stood up years ago, in plea to internatiional leaders against the thundering silence around the congolese crisis.

We the congolese diaspora, we spend yearly 9 .OOO.OOO.OOO , 9 billions usd to our families , this amount is more than the year budget of the country, we pay for school, births, hospitatl costs, school and university fee, food, drugs, funeral...replacing the declined state

We believe that only the veracity of polls now and in the futule, will stop the access of adventurers , coming from nowhere, with fake identity and parents to the top of the administration and having no values at all, collaborate openly with the enemy, to their wealth sake, money they poured into offshore accounts...Killing for money shame on all of you.

Following the un resolution 1325 and 1820 , we are convinced that only a genderised leadership will put an end to the suffering of our people, women and men are different and complementary, i can't imagine a women minister of finance, not allowing the payment of soldiers active on the battlefield during a war " to preserve the stability of the money" as openly declared matata mponyo the nowadays Minister of Finance in DRC, on the national tv.

Only the respect of the voice populi will give the chance to developpment of our country
as all the rwandan illegal oulaws in DRCONGO left congo when president kagame took power, we'll assist to the same phenomenon, if a responsible, accountable,legitime, patriot leads Congo,all those illegals, criminals, and barbarian we'll take a french leave an slit into rwanda an get back to the hard labour.

What do you expect from a governor like Paluku, claiming after his return in Goma, that " don't point out who works with M23 or not, let's forgive....In wartime, anywhere in the world, the one collaborating with the enemy are brought to court for betrayal

Women will talk, protest, dr Mukwege will operate more and more women until exhausted...Only an accountable leadership can solve the global problems in Congo, we believe Congo has a cancer, and the more active site of disease

With the vision of our assassinated prime minister Patrice Lumumba, the financial righteousness of the Late President Kasa vubu, with the stature of state man of the late President Marichal Moubutu,and the people comittment to the late Mzee Laurent Desiré Kabila, We'll follow the path of Qatar: in 20 years they turnt a desert into a 21st futurist state.

We people of the DRCongo, together we'll be successfull, devided, in tribes and provinces we'll fail....The fate of our grassroot sisters and brothers in the Kivu, is our own, all of fus

amiesissoho's picture

In solidarity with our Sisters

Togetherness is strength in times of despair. In solidarity with sisters in Congo. I met a few and they were so nice. As a woman and a mother I understand what it means when impunity seems to be the order of the day, even in my country. We stall not stop looking for alternatives. stay strong.

Amie

ansupokharel's picture

WE RISE

We have to fight harder and of course we are ONE...

Anisha

Anisha Pokharel

starseed's picture

Maman Shujaa

Dear Neema,

Your writing is powerful and I love how you say, that you've learned how making the impossible possible simply requires making a different set of rules.

The photo of the Maman Shujaa is so very beautiful. Your voice is reassuring. Thank you for your bravery and dedication.

Phyllis

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