Conflict and escalating violence have displaced 6.9 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo – a record high number that has impacted all 26 provinces of the country. According to the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM), 81% of internally displaced peoples live in Congo’s eastern region, which has been engulfed in a brutal proxy war for minerals for over 25 years.
This displacement increases the prevalence of sexual violence, disease and hunger.
Millions have died, and hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been raped and sexually tortured. These crimes are committed with near total impunity and, despite the outcry from activists and communities on the ground, the world has chosen to turn a blind eye because of racism and the economic bounty the Congo provides corporations and, in turn, consumers everywhere.
V-Day has worked to bring much needed attention to sexual violence that has resulted from this conflict since 2007. First with a global campaign called STOP RAPING OUR GREATEST RESOURCE: POWER TO THE WOMEN AND GIRLS OF DRC, and then the opening of City of Joy, a transformational leadership community for women survivors of gender violence, designed and led by Congolese survivors and activists. At City of Joy, women return themselves to their bodies, heal their trauma and develop themselves as leaders who will one day take back their country.
The City of Joy team, located in Bukavu in the violence torn eastern region, has lived in and created this revolutionary center amidst this devastating conflict.
City of Joy and V-Day call for an end to all violence in the region and call upon activists and stakeholders everywhere to keep the spotlight on the people of DRC.