Since 1996, both women and girls have been the target of humiliation and torture within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and today marks the celebratory opening of a new opportunity and outlet for these victims in Bukavu, DRC. City of Joy, created by V-Day, The Fondation Panzi, and UNICEF, will be an opportunity for Congo to belong to the Congolese again, and will be operated and directed by Congolese women.
City of Joy is apart of an ongoing V-Day campaign, “STOP RAPING OUR GREATEST RESOURCE: Power to the Women and Girls of the DRC,” intended to steer Eastern Congo towards peace and restoration. Congolese women will benefit from group therapy sessions, as well as self-defense training, HIV/AIDS and family planning sex education, and economic empowerment. Eastern Conflict has stripped Congo of any opportunity and although the V-Day campaign has made tremendous strides in the fight against gender violence, both women and girls continue to be affected.
“Advocates from the region have told stories of unthinkable atrocities that are taking place, including cannibalism, chopping off body parts, rape with tools and weapons, and sexual assault of minors as young as 10 months and elders as old as 87 years. Many members of the female population within the region have endured sexual slavery, kidnapping, unlawful detention, recruitment of young girls into armed forces, and forced prostitution” (http://drc.vday.org/background).
City of Joy Chief Director, Christine Schuler Deschryver, along with V-Day founder Eve Ensler, political leaders, grassroots activists and Congolese residents are attending today’s event as apart of the journey to end gender violence. Since its construction in 2009, City of Joy can now implement its pursuit for peace, an agency for opportunity, and advocate for change.
More about City of Joy – help build and donate to the campaign.