"Women were considered as representations and objects during times of war in DR Congo. They were seen as representations of the nation that can be easily destroyed and humiliated".
COFAPRI (Congolese Female Action for Promoting Rights and Development) is based in Bukavu in the Eastern Democratic Rupublic of Congo.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (République démocratique du Congo), formerly Zaire, is located in Central Africa, with a short Atlantic coastline (37 km). It is the third largest country in Africa by area.
Although citizens of the DRC are among the poorest in the world, having the second lowest nominal GDP per capita, the Democratic Republic of Congo is widely considered to be the richest country in the world regarding natural resources.
War has made the life of women precarious, and violence against women seems to be perceived by large sectors of society to be normal.
Women continue to face major problems of violence in the wake of war in the eastern DRC, including domestic violence which has become ingrained in a culture of violence. Due to the predominance of rape being used as a weapon of war, there are many children born of rape.
COFAPRI works to give a voice to the women and the girls of the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC.
COFAPRI was set up in 2009 by husband and wife team, Mugisho Theophile and Bahati Valérie, to empower women and girls, educate them about their rights, and to empower them through encouraging income-generating activities such as the rearing of livestock.
COFAPRI works closely with local leaders and encourages men's participation in awareness-raising events in order to raise the status of women and girls and change ingrained cultural attitudes.
About DR Congo
In order to distinguish it from the neighboring Republic of the Congo to the west, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is often referred to as DR Congo.
More than 1,100 women are raped every day in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a recent study has concluded, with more than More than 400,000 women and girls between the ages of 15 to 49 raped in the war-ravaged country in central Africa during a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007.
The new study, based on examination of government-collected and nationally representative data from the Democratic Republic of Congo, shows that levels of rape and sexual violence against women in the country are 26 times higher than official United Nations estimates. The study, spearheaded by The Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research, Graduate Program in Public Health, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, is published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Tia M. Palermo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine, Graduate Program in Public Health, and colleagues, found in their analysis that more than 400,000 women ages 15 to 49 in the DRC had experienced rape in a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007. That is the equivalent to 1,152 women raped every day, 48 raped every hour, or four women raped every five minutes.
The study, which gathered data from 2007, did not capture sexual violence among girls younger than 15 years or women older than 49 years and did not include sexual violence among boys and men.
In addition, Human Rights Watch reported that sexual violence in 2009 doubled in comparison with 2008. If this assessment is accurate, then the current prevalence of sexual violence is likely to be even higher than these estimates suggest.
NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security - Democratic Republic of the Congo
American Journal of Public Health - Estimates and Determinants of Sexual Violence Against Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo Read More: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2010.300070
National Council for Research on Women - Study: New Study Shows Rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo Widespread
Wikepedia - Democratic Republic of Congo