Women face violence in many forms and in many places – domestic violence in the home, sexual abuse of girls in schools, sexual harassment at work, structural violence that demeans and limits and excludes, rape by partners or strangers, economic violence that values and rewards men at higher levels than women, assault in refugee camps or focused violence, physical and sexual, as a tactic of war.
Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo know violence well. Conflict and war has ripped parts of the country since 1996. During the conflict, hundreds of thousands of women and children in the eastern DRC have endured sexual violence. In some instances, the sexual violence is a byproduct of the war. At the same time, the violation of women and girls is systematically and strategically used as a weapon.
Such an atrocity, in the DRC or in other places, is an affront to decency and an abuse of human rights. Around the world people organize and work to end violence against women.
Here’s a way you can help end sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Support the CongoSwim on August 25.
Organized by the Congo Team of the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church in California, CongoSwim provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly in terms of sexual violence against women and girls. August 25 is an Orange Day – a day to witness and work for an end to violence against women and girls. CongoSwim participants are encouraged to raise funds for the Congolese grassroots groups receiving grants from Global Fund for Women and Friends of the Congo. Some of the funds raised will also benefit the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative, to prevent children from drowning in the US. Swimming is not the only way to take part.
Presbyterians are participating in several ways. Zephyr Point Conference Center will offer free lodging for the participants who swim Lake Tahoe. White Plains Presbyterian Church will mark the day with a slip and slide on their lawn. I will engage in prayer and walk to support this effort.
Find your own way to work for an end to violence against women and girls! It is past time – well past time.
See you along the Trail.