In practice there is almost total exemption from punishment for the majority of human rights abuse in Congo, not least for violence against women.

The Listeners

“Conversation could do more good than all the medicine in the world.”


Who:
CAMPS (Centre D’Assistance Medico–Psychosociale)
What:
Gives psychosocial support to families who have been subjected to violence in South Kivu.


The King

“I don’t want my daughter to be a ‘good girl’.”     


Who:
Kgosi Mabe
What:
Uses his position as tribal king to work against violence against women.    


The Activist

“We lesbians are not seen as either women or men.”


Who
: Kunu Semake
What:
Works for the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project, and runs her own youth club.


The Midwife

“When I look back on it, I feel genuine regret and compassion.” 


Who:
Enayat Abdelhanid
What: Midwife who has changed her opinion and is now opposed to genital mutilation.

“I used to circumcise up to twenty girls a day, and I was paid in money, tea and sugar. We used to cut out three parts. We held the girl down and she usually screamed. When I look back on it, I feel genuine regret and compassion.”


The Village Activists

“You only have to look at the TV series, and how badly the women behave. It’s because they haven’t been circumcised!”


Who:
BLACD (The Better Life Association for Comprehensive Development).
What: Visit the villages to talk about genital mutilation, and have radically changed the situation. These days only one in ten girls undergoes genital mutilation; previously the figure was nine in ten.  


The Conversation Group

“If he beats me I’ll leave him – or will I?”


Who:
Lise-Lotte Nielsen and Ann-Margret Fick
What:
Social workers who lead conversation groups for abused women, organised by the social services.


The Pioneers

“As far as the politicians are concerned, it’s a reality that doesn’t exist.”


Who:
Casa Amiga
What: Centre for support and advice for women who have been subjected to violence.

She was a retired accountant who settled in Juarez where, in 1993, she began to notice the many reports in the local paper of young girls who had been found murdered and raped. Why was this spate of murders not attracting any attention?


The Support Person

“Those four months changed my life.”


Who:
Paulina Bengtson
What:
Runs Novahuset, a voluntary association which supports victims of sexual assault.

“Actually, I had a feeling straight away that something was wrong. He looked like someone from the Mafia, not at all as gentle as he’d seemed. But I was gullible and ignored my own warning signals. I was used to trusting people.”


The Parents

“We had no idea of the dangerous life our daughter led. Now we want to warn other people.”


Who:
Marta and Rick Omilian
What:
Manage the Remembering Maggie Fund, which spreads information about violence among young people and agitates against the US liberal weapons legislation. 


The Village Mother

“I used to sit up at night waiting for him to come home and beat me.”


Who:
Motshidisi
What:
Uses her position as “village mother” to work against violence and the spread of HIV/AIDS.  

Both Motshidisi’s daughter and her ex-husband died of AIDS. Since then she has talked and talked and talked about the disease - and about the violence. Slowly, people are beginning to respond.


The men’s movement

“Violence is about control. It’s the loss of control that triggers violence.”  


Who:
Alexander Gogolkin
What: Leads M21, which works both for greater gender equality, and with the treatment of violent men.