United Nations and non-government
organizations estimate that hundreds of thousands of women and girls in the Democratic
Republic of Congo are victims of rape and sexual violence as a result of
Congo's brutal civil war.
Eve Ensler is founder of V-Day, the global movement
to end violence against women. She has traveled to the DRC three times in the
past 18 months. Beginning this
Wednesday, February 11, her organization is launching a five-city tour in the
United States to raise funds and consciousness about the plight of Congo's rape
Ensler told VOA rape in the DRC has become a
country sport that must be stopped.
we know has happened in the Democratic Republic of Congo is that U.N.
peacekeepers are involved in rape, the Congolese have been involved in rape,
the FDLR has been involved in rape, Nkunda's forces have been involved in rape.
It's actually become a kind of country sport," she said.
said she's happy that within the last year and the half her organization,
V-Day, has been instrumental in making the plight of Congolese rape victims a
front page news event
now in V-Day this year there will be 4,000 events all of which will focus on
the women of the DRC, there'll be 600 teachings, we have huge events happening
in London, in Paris, in Brussels and in a 120 countries. So I think there is
absolutely a movement being generated. The most important thing that has
happened is that in the DRC itself in eastern Congo women are mobilizing to
take back control of their own destiny," Ensler said.
said a war is being waged on the bodies of women in the DRC that is conscious
against women is not particular to the Democratic Republic of Congo. It happens
in every single country of the world. But what is happening in the Democratic
Republic of Congo is something very strategic and very malevolent. I have seen
and heard stories where soldiers who are known to have AIDS, for example, are
sent into villages to rape the women. I have seen situations where soldiers who
have STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are sent into villages. I've seen
situations where men are basically controlled and directed to rape women in
front of their husbands which absolutely destroys the family," Ensler said.
United Nations and non-government organizations estimates, Ensler said between 3
and 400,000 Congolese women have been raped in the last 12 years. She said
unless it is stopped immediately, rape with impunity will spread throughout
said the high rate of rape and sexual crimes against women in the DRC has
nothing to do with the culture of the region.
no means do I think it's cultural because I was in the Bosnia war where I saw
thousands of women being raped, and I've been in all kinds of countries. I don't
think you can underestimate the history of genocide and colonialism and
degradation that has already occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but
where there's complete impunity, where the international community is
indifferent and where the local government has failed to create justice, if you
don't stop rape, if you don't say it's unacceptable, it's like a virus, it will
spread," Ensler said.
five-city tour begins this Wednesday in New York, and moves on to Los Angeles,
San Francisco, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.
hoped the tour will raise new awareness of the rape and sexual violence crisis
in the DRC.