CONCLUSION: THE ROAD TO RECOVERY - Sexual violence in the eastern DRC
1 April 2004
After years of neglect, there has in the last couple of years been an increase in efforts to confront sexual violence in Eastern DRC. Sexual violence against civilians is now acknowledged as a problem and it is recognised that more should be done to assist the victims and to address the impunity with which it has been occurring to date.Whilst extremely welcome, current efforts still fall short of what needs to be done to help prevent these atrocities from happening again. As a result of the extreme dynamism of civil society in Baraka, many rape victims have been given support and basic counselling to help them overcome the traumatic ordeal they have encountered. Medical and psychosocial treatment is now being provided to those that can access the health services that are available. Efforts are being made to enable rape victims in inaccessible areas to have access to assistance. Centres dealing with sexual violence are starting up to offer support to victims to help them break the silence. However, most women, men, and children remain isolated. There is still much to be done in supporting these communities dealing with this devastating phenomenon. The stigma attached to rape victims must be fought and socio-economic support provided to rape victims, allowing them to maintain their livelihoods and dignity. Low-level projects like micro-credit or soap manufacture have been designed by local associations and only lack the necessary funding. The disruption caused by sexual violence within the society cannot be ignored anymore and the population of Baraka must be allowed to take the road to recovery. At the time of this report, sexual violence against girls, boys, men, and women of all ages is still ongoing in Eastern DRC, despite the peace agreement. The global political situation in Eastern DRC is improving but this in many ways is only revealing the legacies of the conflict in the region for the last decade. The impunity of the perpetrators remains unacceptable and sexual violence will continue unless political and military decision-makers finally decide to put an end to such horrific amounts of violence and suffering. Only once this has happened will this terrible weapon of war no longer be used. MSF ACTIVITIES IN THE DRC Conflict and neglect have left the health system in the Democratic Republic of Congo in tatters. MSF responds to epidemics and emergencies and provides basic health care to people who have none. Active in the DRC since 1981, all the operational sections of MSF (Belgium, France, Holland, Spain and Switzerland) are today present in the country. MSF's medical aid work in eight of the country's ten provinces and in the capital Kinshasa makes the mission one of MSF's largest worldwide. Download the entire report here in PDF format.