'Enough, enough, enough, enough': 1700 women march against mass rape in DR Congo

Monday, October 18, 2010

Over 1,700 women from more than 40 nations marched through Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) yesterday, to protest sexual violence against their gender. The United Nations calls the nation the "rape capital of the world" and estimates 15,000 rapes were committed last year in the DRC. One local activist said "They [the women] have had enough, enough, enough, enough. Enough of the [civil] war, of the rape, of nobody paying attention to what's happening to them."

Both rebel groups and government troops are accused of rape, with march organisers hoping to draw international attention to rape as a weapon in war. Eastern Congo is worse affected, and aid groups have suggested the actual figure may be higher as victims are unlikely to come forward. The UN states mass rapes have occurred in the area for at least 15 years. Some rape victims left hospital to participate in the march.

The third "World March of Women" followed several days of talks aimed at changing the social acceptance of violence, especially against women, in the Congo. Peace and development were also on the agenda for women from nations including Togo, South Africa, Pakistan, and Brazil. Some men also joined the discussions.