MSF launches rape awareness campaign in Congo-Brazzaville

© Alain Fredaigue

 

On International Woman's Day, March 8, MSF in Congo Brazzaville launched a grassroots programme to raise awareness to the problems of sexual abuse.

500 wooden silhouettes of women were installed in the streets of Brazzaville and a Congolose theatre group performed on a truck travelling from one neighbourhood to another. Badges, leaflets, posters with the slogan 'Tika
/ Bika viol, je dis non!'
(Tika / Bika, I say no to rape!) were distributed throughout the city.

Sexual abuse and violence was particularly severe during a year-long flare-up of the civil war beginning in December 1998. Between May 3 and December 31 1999, 1,200 women went to the emergency unit of the Makélékélé hospital declaring they had been victims of rape. The majority of the violence was perpetrated on the road from Kinkala
and Brazzaville - a road that became known as 'the corridor of death'.

After this period, the numbers decreased but the problem remains important. MSF started a program in the Makélékélé hospital in March 2000. Between March 2000 and December 2002, 548 victims of sexual violence were helped at this hospital by MSF teams. MSF organises medical and psychological consultations and provides administrative and social assistance that is both free of charge and anonymous.

Rape spares no-one

One rape in two involves a minor: children, sometimes even babies. Boys as well as girls are raped. Nor are the elderly, pregnant women, or mothers spared. Every social category is affected.

Between March 2000 and December 2002, a total of 548 victims of sexual violence were admitted to Makélékélé (99.3% were women), aged between 6 months and 69 years old.

The age brackets most affected are:

  • 13 and 17 years old: 32.4%
  • 18 and 27 years old: 24.6%

    Download a Word document on the MSF program in Congo-Brazzaville