I came to the DRC to document the victims of sexual violence. The incidence of rape in the DR Congo is the worst in the world. UNICEF estimates over 1,000 women are victims of sexual violence every month.
My goal was to provide ongoing witness to the victims' suffering. To remind people about the situation in the Congo, and to raise funds to help the victims heal. Nothing could have prepared me for the sheer number and severity of cases I have encountered and I'm not even scratching the surface.
I have spoken with over 50 women in eastern DRC, some raped the night before I met them, others years ago who are still battling with the lingering effects. The women are raped violently. Some are taken as sex slaves for months forced to perform as sex slaves for soldiers. Others are gang raped, one woman recounted being raped by 10 men before they brutally ripped apart what was left of her with a broken bottle and left her for dead. Other women watched their children be raped and husbands killed before their own eyes.
What strikes me the most is that this has been going on for years. The press and organizations such as Human Rights Watch have been speaking of the severe violence in Congo for years, yet no one is doing a thing....