Elaine Storkey: Our Responsibility in the Congo

One human-rights activist has described the Congo as “the most dangerous place on earth for women”: a place where rape as a weapon of war, mutilation, gang torture, blinding, and maiming are all inflicted indiscriminately on women and young girls.

Appallingly, these everyday displays of power and hatred go largely unchecked and ignored by the law. When I was in the South Kivu province, I asked the officer in charge of military justice how many courts dealt with sexual violence against women, and how many men had been convicted. The answer, as I expected, was none.

Goma itself has seen much sexual violence. Yet it has also become a place of hope. A Christian hospital called Heal Africa was set up here, decades ago, by a fearless Congolese surgeon who regularly risks his life to serve his fellows. It trains health professionals and strengthens social activists. Inevitably, the commitment to holistic care has drawn it into treating and combating sexual violence.

Read it all.

Update: For background on this I strongly recommend taking the time to watch Ben Affleck’s journey to the Congo as shown on Nightline earlier this year: part one is here and part two is there.

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Republic of Congo

2 comments on “Elaine Storkey: Our Responsibility in the Congo

  1. Gartenfrau says:

    I traveled to Goma almost 3 years ago on a missionary trip. Our group was supposed to visit some of our new church plants in Kivu provence. It is hard to describe the very oppressive feeling we all got after we walked across the border from Rwanda. You could feel the tension and evil in the air. As we met our “car” and drove to our church there in Goma, we saw a man being stoned in the street near the marketplace. We didn’t dare stop. There was a heavy UN presence at that time and saw many vehicles with loaded 50 cal machine guns driving through town. We only spent 24 hours in Congo because the political situation was worsening and it was just too dangerous for us to stay. I pray for my fellow Christians there in Goma frequently. And if you ever get to go there, avoid the Hotel des Grands Lacs, it’s like something out of a horror movie. The mere thought of it makes me shudder!

  2. Irenaeus says:

    What a needless, disgraceful tragedy. Time for a forceful international response.