Democratic Republic of Congo also known as the DRC: a country ravaged by civil war and corruption with a crime rate so high, it’s civilians are left at the palm of devastation.
Rich with resources, the DRC is essentially overflowing with agricultural products and in valuable minerals like gold and also others that are used in electronics. Despite its wealth of resources, the DRC has experienced overwhelming exploitation causing major disputes over control of these key sources of wealth.
Since 1996, the country has been left in shambles following the civil war, several rebellions, and thus hence, civilian strife. These factors have catalyzed the unraveling economy and increasing rates of malnutrition among its citizens.
Females have continued to face higher rates of poverty and violence during this time of continued conflict. Rape and sexual assault has been used to terrorize women and their families.
It’s estimated that every hour about 48 women are raped. About 12% of its countries women are victims of rape. The Guardian estimates that about “1.8 million women out of the country’s population of 70 million people have been raped”.
In the DRC, abusers are able to live their lives without consequence of their actions. “…rape against women is so common that the perpetrators are not pursued by the authorities”, according to news.com.au.
In a country where it is considered safer to be a soldier than a woman, women all of the world have the distinct duty to rise up and help our sisters.
After reading all about the DRC and learning of its rape culture, I couldn’t help but brainstorm a few ideas on how to help the women of the DRC.
- Public Condemnation
- We must encourage people of the Congo to tell us their real stories. Without their accounts, it is impossible to truly convey the severity of current issues. If they won’t fight for their rights, how can we help them?
- Global Effort
- We as an international community must come together and start the conversation. We have to open the door and discuss how wrong the rape climate in the DRC is. Without opening our arms, the women won’t know they are being heard; they need to know they have a world supporting them.
Talking about the issues at hand are not the only way to draw attention to this issue. Several organizations have been established for the sole purpose of shedding light on the ongoing issues plaging the DRC through hands on advocacy and raising money.
Women for Women is one of those organizations. They serve more than 91,000 women in the DRC by helping women earn and save money, gain educational opportunities, and create support networks.
Organizations like Women for Women are working to initiate workforce training for women in the DRC. Though, this is only the beginning. The work has just begun— for the women of the DRC and the international community of both males and females.
Adetunji, Jo. “48 Women Raped Every Hour in Congo, Study Finds.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 12 May 2011, www.theguardian.com/world/2011/may/12/48-women-raped-hour-congo.
“DR Congo Country Profile.” BBC News, BBC, 13 July 2017, www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13283212.
Jwaterworth. “Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Women for Women International, 1 Aug. 2017, www.womenforwomen.org/what-we-do/countries/democratic-republic-congo.