WOMEN BEYOND WAR: A WORLD MARCH IN AFRICA

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo women are leading the campaign against violence and against the use of rape as a weapon of war.

From October 13-17, 2010, hundreds women gathered in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for the World March of Women. Two hundred and fifty representatives from 48 countries joined over a thousand delegates from the DRC to protest violence against women. Besides leading a massive march, participants formed panels to discuss economic empowerment, public service, and demilitarization. The event could not have been held in a more appropriate place. An estimated 1,000 rapes are committed every month in the DRC, and nearly 40 percent of the victims are under the age of 18. The use of rape as a weapon of war has tormented the women of DRC during the past decade and a half of civil conflict. However, women today are winning more through their mobilizing than ever before. In February 2011, thanks to the brave testimony of 49 women, a military court in eastern DRC for the first time convicted a commanding officer for mass rape and crimes against humanity. Eight other soldiers were also convicted and sentenced to more than 115 years in prison. Congolese women working with international solidarity groups are meeting with government officials to discuss ways to hold more military combatants accountable for their crimes. This short film captures the mood of the World March of Women and conveys the demands coming from women who have for too long borne the brunt of violent conflict.

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