Stories of Sexual Violence and a Path to Healing in Democratic Republic of the Congo
We’re humbled to be mentioned in TIME’s cover story “The Secret War Crime,” written by Aryn Baker. Against a background of horrific and widespread sexual violence in conflict, Baker narrates the stories of victims and survivors of this violence – and of those who are working for change.
As part of our Living Peace group therapy and community-based program, Equimundo and our partners are one part of the greater effort to help prevent sexual violence in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and to reduce the stigma faced by more than 200,000 women and children who have been victims of this violence.
Support services to victims of sexual violence are absolutely essential; however, to fully address and prevent the root causes of this violence, it is also necessary to work with men and boys, says Benoit Ruratotoye, research coordinator for the Living Peace Institute (part of Equimundo’s global team):
“We have to develop a positive masculinity. One that isn’t based on violence, that promotes the rights of all. … If [boys] are not taught human rights, respect for women, equality, these children will grow into young men who think they are better than women, and they will grow into men who rape women, who will use violence to get their way.”
Living Peace uses a combination of psychosocial support and group education to help men and their partners in post-conflict settings address the personal effects of trauma, while also bringing the community together in a process of social restoration. The group therapy process has been used with survivors of sexual violence, husbands of conflict-related rape survivors, and witnesses of genocide and other forms of violence. Living Peace will reach hundreds of thousands by 2019.