The DRC has been called the gaping wound of the world. It is a beautiful, lush country with fertile soil and rich minerals. But it has suffered from an ongoing civil war that is fueled by greed and corruption, and enflamed by outside forces that exploit the Congo’s natural resources at the expense of the Congolese people. In the last decade over 5,000,000 people have been killed in this civil war, making it the deadliest conflict since W.W. II. Millions more people live in refugee camps, forced to flee from their homes to escape violence.
To make this all exponentially worse, thousands of women and girls have been brutally raped as soldiers and civilians alike use women’s bodies as a battlefield where the goal is to destroy the heart and soul of village after village after village. Violent men have discovered that rape is a most effective weapon of war—and doubly effective if women can be impregnated—so they wield this weapon freely. Today, Congo is arguably the worse place on earth to be a woman.
Two years ago I heard about this on National Public Radio. I couldn’t believe that something so horrific was going on in the world and I had never heard of it. I turned to the Internet to find organizations engaged in the Congo. Last October my friends, Christine Anderson, and I traveled to the Congo with World Relief, an organization that works through churches in troubled communities to help bring sustainable wholistic transformation.
The Congo is a failed state—a country where there is no rule of law, where men can rape with impunity, where neither government nor police provide protection for the vulnerable. In this situation, there is truly no institution for people to turn to but the church. Through World Relief we met pastors and church volunteers who form compassion committees and women’s support groups to serve the women who have been raped.My heroes: the pastors and volunteers who give hope to victimized women
A woman named Regina told me how the women’s group had visited her in the hospital where she had been taken after soldiers murdered her son and raped her. Regina was so distraught that she wanted to die, but the women encouraged her to come to their village. Week after week they helped her regain her strength physically, and provided a place where she could grieve, talk about what had happened to her, and do sewing projects to earn money. “They gave me back my life,” she said. “I wanted to die, but they helped me want to live again.”
Hearing Regina's Story
In another village Christine and I met the director of one of the women’s groups who said that rape has become so prevalent that they don’t talk about “if” a woman will be raped, but “when.” Just that week a 10-year-old girl and an elderly woman had been raped in that village. Many women are so violently raped that they require extensive surgery to repair the damage done to their bodies.
World Relief has worked directly with the compassion committees and the woman’s group, providing training for dealing with trauma and money for the surgeries. But the UN funding that made this intervention possible has ended.
That’s where “Give Ten for Congo” comes in. We Americans have the opportunity to join hands with our Congolese sisters by raising $50,000 to allow this important program to continue. Please visit World Relief and look for the “Give Ten for Congo” logo to make a credit card donation.
Or you can Text Congo to 50555 to make your $10 donation. When prompted please reply with YES to confirm your gift.* (Msg&Data rates may apply. Full terms at mGive.com/a)
Then—please—forward this blog to others. Put it on Facebook. Tweet and retweet about it. Let’s be a voice for the voiceless! Let’s show our global sisters that they’ve not been forgotten! (For more Congo stories, check out these previous blogs: Charlene’s Story and Loans for Life)
*If you choose the text option: A one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your prepaid balance. You will also receive up to 4 messages per month from World Relief Alerts. Msg&Data Rates May Apply. All charges are billed by and payable to your mobile service provider. Service is available on most carriers. Donations are collected for the benefit of World Relief by the mGive Foundation and subject to the terms found at www.mGive.com/A. To unsubscribe text STOP to50555, for help text HELP to50555.)