Gender based violence and especially violence against women is one of the most widespread human rights abuses in the world. One in three women will experience rape, abuse, or other forms of gender based violence in her lifetime.
This video show how coalition member, CAFOD and partners are working with women and men around the world to change the norms which allow this violence to continue and to empower women to assert their human rights. Including stories from Columbia, DR Congo and Cambodia.
Listen to women MPs in Afghanistan as they speak about the role of women in Afghanistan ten years after the international intervention. 90% of women still face some form of domestic violence and fewer than 15% of women are literate. Many women are still subject to forced marriage and rape goes unpunished. Christian Aid works with its Afghan partners to bring international attention to the voices of women. It supports women in prisons, women farmers in rural areas and much more.
From coalition member, Christian Aid.
A rape survivor from the Democratic Republic of Congo talks about her experience of being abducted, raped and impregnated by Rwandan soldiers, some of whom were infected with HIV.
From coalition member Christian Aid.
“The church has really been helpful, I did not attend church much, and so had no expectations from them. However when I experienced their caring and love, I decided to go to church more often and there experienced so much love and acceptance. They visit me; they make sure that I have all that I need. I am now part of the choir and they also accept my child. Their caring has allowed me to face the world, I do not feel so much shame now because of the rape, and they accept me and have adopted me into their family. I can face the world” Ineza*
This is just one testimony of how the church has been mobilised to support survivors of sexual violence in Rwanda, as part of a pilot programme by the Anglican Diocese of Kigali and Gasabo in partnership with coalition member, Tearfund.
Read more stories of impact from the pilot programme here.
On the 22nd November, a group of remarkable women came together to share with local government officials, UN agencies, NGOs and church leaders. Their desire to be a voice for the voiceless.
Hear their voices here: It is time to break the silence
During a meeting with church leaders in KwaZulu Natal, a group of survivors shared their stories thru a poem…
“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde
Kezia has blogged about her full story and the work of YWCA. Please visit her blog to read more. YWCA is a coalition member.
My name is Keziah Bianca, I am 22 years old and work at the YWCA of Kenya – Kisii branch. Kisii is a place renowned for practicing female genital mutilation and as a girl who grew up here, I was not an exception. I cannot blame my family for making me go through this inhuman act, as the society dictates it. In my culture it was considered unclean for a girl not to go through the practice.
The reason why I am writing this is to say to the girls who faced female genital mutilation like me, to still trust in life and a brighter future. It doesn’t matter what happened, or how your past has been, you can still have a future if you stand up and let your voice be heard. Talk about how you feel and also protect the young girls who may be facing the wrath of the knife as you and I did.
Chepka lives in a village in Eastern DRC. In 1994 rebels entered her village during the conflict. When the villagers saw them coming, all of them ran for their lives. Chepka’s house was at the entrance to the village and she and her husband did not have time to escape from the rebels. They caught them both and after killing her husband in front of her, they tied Chepka to a tree and took turns to rape her. After she had been gang raped by 10 men, the men then found corn sticks which they inserted into her vagina. She remembers nothing else of the attack as at this point she fainted.
As a result of the rape and violence, Chepka had a fistula (a tear between the vagina and bladder/rectum). She also suffered from chronic back pain and other injuries as a result of the gang rape.
Chepka lived with the fistula for 14 years until a HEAL Africa mobile clinic visited her community and informed them of the signs and symptoms of a fistula. Chepka was able to go to the hospital and have the fistula repaired. Whilst at HEAL Africa she was able to attend literacy classes and learn how to make doughnuts so she could support herself when she is ready to return to the village. HEAL Africa also provided counselling to Chepka.
When asked what she thought of the men who had done this to her she said ‘I forgive them’. Chepka’s story is a powerful example of the church community in action. Forgiveness in this context is incredible powerful and amazing.
Chepka’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
A documentary showing the consequences of sexual violence and the first, faltering steps towards a remedy, through personal stories.
To view the documentary, click here.