UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman and playwright and V-Day founder Eve Ensler Saturday announced a partnership focused on ending rape of women and girls in the DR Congo.
They were joined by Dr. Denis Mukwege and Christine Schuler Deschryverha from the DRC.
In a press statement made available to PANA here, UNICEF said the announcement came during the 10th V-Day celebration at the Superdome, New Orleans, in the US.
“Rape is a weapon of war in the DRC. Hundreds of thousands of women and children , aged six months to 80 years of age, have been sexually assaulted,” the statement said.
“The goal of the campaign (Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource, Power to The Women And Girls Of Democratic Republic Of Congo) is to stop the rape, empower women and girls and end impunity for these atrocious crimes,” said Veneman.
Veneman visited the DRC in 2006 where she met several survivors of rape.”These women’s lives have been profoundly marked by acts of brutality,” Veneman said.
“It is urgent that we work together to put a stop to these inhumane acts of violence,” she said.
UNICEF is working with NGOs in the DRC to assist the thousands of women and girl s who have been assaulted and raped, many with severe physical and psychological consequences.
Dr. Mukwegi has treated thousands of these women at the UNICEF-supported Panzi Hospital.
Many of these women have been severely injured as a result of the sexual assaults.”The programme is designed to give these women hope,” he said.
“I am doing this campaign because I don’t want to have to cry anymore. I don’t want to have to cry when I tell a young woman when she asks me, can I have a baby , and I have to say, no,” said Dr Mukwegi.