The sex slavery in Congo has taken the lives of so many innocent women. The war has caused a rape epidemic. Rape is used as a violent weapon in the fight for power and in the instillation of fear in everyone. By implementing fear, soldiers are abusing the women in their country. Women and girls are desperately fighting for their lives. Not only are some of these women and girls contracting deadly diseases, such as HIV, but they live in fear of being blamed and shunned from their community if they talk about it. Women’s insides are being destroyed because of the violent rapes and genital mutilation, not to mention the many psychological effects caused by sexual assault.
In Congo, gender-based sexual assault, like rape, is the norm. There is nothing being done to help these women. Corruption in the government has created an adequate justice system. Perpetrators are not being prosecuted, because the prisoners themselves control the jail houses. Since Congo is lacking a fair justice system, there aren’t many places these women can go for help. Congo also has a shortage of quality healthcare. In a 60 Minutes newscast, a local doctor, Dr. Denis Mukwege is at the forefront of the efforts to help these women. He is one of the only men the women can trust and he also tries to give them hope. But hope is hard to come by when more and more women are raped and assaulted every day.
The voices of the women and girls who are being vicitimized everyday are not being heard, which is why the Vagina Monologues is making the effort to shine some light on Congo’s rape epidemic. Last month, the Women’s Center hosted a production of the Vagina Monologues, and even though they are over, we still have to come to the realization that this epidemic is still happening and we still need to bring awareness to this problem. I was one of the performers in the recent production. I had the privilege of being able to tell the story of a Congo girl that was in sex slavery for two years, during which she was raped daily and impregnated by her abuser. Hearing her story really touched me, because you can never grasp the fear she had to go through. Hopefully telling her story at the Monologues has encouraged everyone that we need to wake up to this crisis that is still happening. Women are being killed for no reason and they have nowhere to turn. There are many organizations that help the women, but it still has not stopped the violence that is degrading the women of Congo. That is what V-Day is all about, stopping the violence against women in Congo and all around the world.