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Act for justice in the DRC

Fearless Voices: speaking up for peace, equality and justice in the DRC is a report on sexual violence and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the report we share the words of courageous women and girls who have survived violence.

Fearless Voices calls for an end to systemic rape and violence perpetrated against women and girls within a culture of impunity. Though progress has been made in the years since we released our previous report, Forsaken Voices, there is still much to do to support women and girls in this rich and beautiful country.


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Pascaline's story

Pascaline

“My name is Pascaline. I am a survivor of rape. 

Thanks to Caritas I found a place that welcomed me and embraced me. I was able to earn some income, to reconcile with my husband, to start again and to become strong.

For six years I have managed the Caritas centre for women and girls in my parish. Through my story, I encourage others to have hope. I was a victim of violence but I learnt that I’m not damaged, I am a human being. 

Please continue to pray and lobby for us and for peace. Help us show the world that the impunity must stop so that all women will be safe to live in Congo.”


Take action for justice in the DRC


About Fearless Voices

In June 2014, Caritas Australia conducted interviews and training with hundreds of people affected by the protracted crisis in North Kivu, a troubled province in the country’s east.

Lulu Mitshabu

In conversations with survivors as young as 11, and the courageous women who are still advocating for justice after almost 20 years of fighting, we learnt that women and girls are the strongest agents of change in the DRC. Pascaline, who we met in Goma, is just one example of a strength and optimism we encountered in so many communities. 

Watch Lulu Mitshabu speak about the DRC and our Fearless Voices report on Sky News Australia. Lulu is Caritas Australia's Program Coordinator for the DRC.

Lulu has also been interviewed on ABC Radio, and the report has been covered by Marie Claire and news.com, among others.

Violence in the DRC

Congolese communities are ravaged by fighting as public officials, militia, and international actors compete for control of the country’s abundant natural resources. Today in Congo it is estimated that more than 44 armed groups – including groups backed by support from outside the country – continue to fight over land, minerals, politics, and race. 

After more than a century of exploitation, and two decades of war, women and girls remain the targets of deliberate, systematic and brutal attacks by soldiers, militia and civilians alike. Designed to terrorise communities, humiliate military opponents, and quash political opposition, rape is a weapon of war and a token of conquest.

A recent report estimates that 48 women and girls are raped in the DRC every hour.  And in 2013, 700 cases of sexual violence were reported in North Kivu in the first six months of the year. Most of these crimes go unpunished. [1]

A recent survey conducted in the North Kivu, South Kivu and Oriental Province shows that Congolese people believe in their country’s future. More than 90 percent of respondents said they believe a lasting peace is possible, and 85 percent believe it’s possible to achieve formal justice in spite of corruption and institutional challenges.

Against this dire backdrop of violence, but with such so much belief in the country, Caritas Australia and thousands of Congolese women are waging peaceful and courageous campaign to restore the rights of women and girls in the rich, beautiful and vibrant DRC.


[1] Data from Peterman, Palermo and Bredenkamp, 2011 and UN, 2013.