The war in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) between 1998 and 2003 involved several African countries and armed militia groups. It is considered one of the greatest humanitarian crises in the world, yet received little international media attention even during the height of the conflict. The violence has continued intermittently since 2003 due to the remaining presence of armed militias groups and ethnic conflict. Millions of civilian deaths resulted from the conflict as well as the hunger, abuse and disease that followed in its wake.
The Church is working to minister to the spiritual, physical and psychological needs of those who have suffered the most. Among them are women who have been victims of sexual violence. It is well documented that rape was employed as a weapon of war by the Congolese army as well as the militia groups. As many as 50% of women reported being raped in some communities. As a sure sign of the disintegration of society, an increasing number of civilian men also started committing this crime against women.
I was 16 and on my way to a good education and future. One day when I was home with my sister, four men in uniform broke into our house. They raped me and my sister. Now I have a baby to care for. The counsellors heard about me and came to my house.They got me to the hospital to get the care I needed. They invited me to a support group. I received a $50 loan to start a business. The problem is that my child has been sick so I had to use the money to buy medicine.
I live with my sister and six other siblings. I try to care for them because my mother is dead and my father abandoned us. I have not gone back to school because I must look after my child so I do not know what the future holds. I try to cope by occupying myself with things that distract me. I pray every day that God will help me forget, and that I will be able to care for my child.
How the Project Works
CBM has a partnership with the Communauté Baptiste au Centre de l’Afrique (CBCA) to care for women recovering from traumatic experiences. Support groups have been formed for these courageous women, and a handful of men, who have been subjected to sexual violence. Some of these women and girls became pregnant after being raped and are now struggling to support their children with little assistance.
The CBCA women’s department helps meet the needs of these women by providing them with access to health care and counselling services, reintegrating them back into their families, and providing the means for skills training so they can support themselves and their children. CBM has committed to providing resources for this valuable ministry.