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Compassion In Kenya

Compassion-CBO

Compassion CBO

Safe World Field Partner in Kenya - Compassion CBO, was formed to eradicate poverty through education and sustainable development among women living in the slums and rural areas and to rehabilitate orphans and vulnerable children.

Survivors In DR Congo

Bahati-with-group

COFAPRI

COFAPRI is based in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Rupublic of Congo The organisation empowers women through encouraging income-generating activities such as the rearing of livestock.

Field Partner News

Safe World Field Partner, work directly with issues such as poverty, health-care, marginalisation, FGM, child marriage, and education.

Asha Leresh

How Asha Survived the Unnecessary Cut

Asha’s luck came when Samuel Siriria Leadismo, the Director of Pastoralist Child Foundation and his team visited her village, creating awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual reproductive health....
Handwashing

Washing Hands to Improve Health in Rural DR Congo

COFAPRI organised handwashing sessions for school children and mothers in rural villages, with the aid of educational DVDs kindly supplied by Thare Machi Education. The word has begun to spread as neighbours are now prompting each other to wash their hands.
Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces Crucial for Women's Self-Reliance in Rural DR Congo

Increased security helps women become self-reliant and less financially dependent on their husbands. This improves the situation for the whole family and also means the women are less vulnerable to abuse.
Towards womens empowerment

DR Congo: Men's Inclusion in Women's Empowerment Benefits Everyone

It remains very important within communities for men and boys to be educated regarding the rights of women and girls, including their proper, fair and respectful treatment. When the women and girls become empowered, it is the whole community that benefits.
Margaret from Kiambu Support Group

Nairobi cancer survivor has hope at last

Margaret is among many women Compassion CBO trained in 2015. She has survived breast Cancer 2 times.

New Womens Magazine for Cameroon

The first edition of the Women for a Change Magazine is now available.

News, Interviews and Blogs

Under-reported issues affecting women and children. Exclusive interviews, articles and blogs by Safe World Correspondents and Content Partners

Compensation Claims Board 2

The Need for Victim Compensation Programmes - Pakistan and Globally

Globally, victim compensation programmes play a significant role in providing assistance to the victims of violence... however, in Pakistan we are lacking any such programme. It is high time to take serious note of the issue and develop a strong referral…
Lizzy and Victoria

Peace, Dialogue & the Ripple Effect: #RISING16 Global Peace Forum

Perhaps the most inspiring session for me came towards the end of the two days and was entitled ‘Bring back our girls – the forgotten victims of conflict’... We heard the CEO of International Alert, Harriet Lamb, and Victoria Nyanjura - who was kidnapped by…
Olutosin 2

Olutosin Adebowale: To America With Love

Once upon a time in my country, Nigeria, there was a ruler who was dreaded by many... We resisted and said No to every oppressive action or word to any weak or voiceless Nigerian... This is the time to stand firm on what has held the world together - Love.
Berlyne Ngwalem Ngwentah

Berlyne Ngwentah: 'The Biggest Cheerleaders of Women are Women'

All the most prominent, biggest community and feminist movements to alleviate the sufferings of women and girls and support women’s involvement in education and leadership have been championed mostly by women...
Jen 9

Promoting Misogyny, Zenophobia, and Bullying... is.... Nasty

I cannot ever vote for anyone who promotes misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, zenophobia, homophobia... It would be a mockery of my life... dishonoring my elders who have endured the many injustices of racial animosity, my friends who've experienced the same...
Women united

Women United for a Better Community in High Andean of Peru

“Women United for a Better Community” is a new group of grassroots women in the Ayacucho Region at the South High Andean of Peru, recently created by Estrategia, a National Grassroots women's organization. The grassroots women require to be heard and get the…

DRC-street-childrenDRC: Children born of conflict rape often end up on the street, where they become vulnerable targets of war lords and traffickers. Photo: Mugisho Theophile, COFAPRI

By Mugisho Theophile, co-founder of COFAPRI. October 2012.

Bahati Valérie Meets With a Former Child Soldier 

It is essential to try to understand the reasons why fighters rape women and girls.

COFAPRI co-founder, Bahati Valérie, recently spent time visiting the rural villages in eastern DR Congo, and talking with survivors of conflict rape.

Shortly afterwards, she met one of her old friends in Buvaku. In their exchange regarding COFAPRI's work, the friend told Bahati that she knows someone who used to be a child soldier; a member of the Mai Mai. Bahati made arrangements with her friend to meet the former child soldier.

The Mai Mai is a fighters’ movement that claimed to fight for DRC national integrity, and to resist the Interahamwe. The Interahamwe militia (Hutu paramilitary organisation) are the people who committed the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda; they took refuge in the DRC forests when they fled from the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the rebel movement in Rwanda that had originally come from Uganda.

The boy was very open and friendly but refused to tell his name or for any photos to be taken.

He said that it is the Intrahamwe who rape women and girls and not the Mai Mai, who protect the Congolese. He said that therefore he had not raped women and girls.

Bahati asked him to clarify whether he had ever raped even one girl. He smiled while scratching his face, and asked her to continue with the conversation, adding that issues of rape were past. He insisted that very few of his former comrades used to rape.

However, he claimed to know the reasons why fighters rape children and women, young and old alike.

The former child soldier explained the motivations of his comrades who had been raping women and girls:

  1. Witch doctors. Witch doctors told them to rape many women; old, young and children, so as to get extra power for killing more enemies.
  2. Drugs. After taking drugs (alcohol, marijuana, etc ) they cannot control their behavior and so they behave like an animal when they see a woman.
  3. Long periods in bush. Spending a long period in the bush make them more likely to rape when they see women.
  4. Sexual exerience. Most of them joined as fighters while still children, and they had never experienced sexual activity. Now they have guns, they have power over women and girls, and want to experience the feelings of a man who rapes a woman or a girl.
  5. Punishment. To punish and dishonour women or girls: particularly a girl or a woman the fighter wanted to flirt when he was a civilian, but she had refused. Then by raping her, he has punished her and her family.
  6. Revenge. Rape for revenge; in cases where families, clans or tribes had long lasting contentions. Often the leader sought information about the hideouts of an enemy family. Then he told his fighters to seek means to reach them out in their hiding place, get their daughters and wives and rape them. The fighter may also rape as an act of retaliation against an enemy family. In this case, most rapes took place within sight of other family members, to ridicule them. If they tried to intervene, the rapist shot them dead and then raped the wives or the girls, and afterwards also killed the victim in an awful way. Such abominable activities were often conducted during the night.
  7. Weapon of war. Rape is used as a weapon of war, to wage violence. The weapon of rape is worse than any firearm. A firearm kills an individual on the spot, and does not make the victim so suffer much and for so long. The weapon of rape is worse, as it slowly destroys the emotional and physical wellbeing of the victim. The victim sees herself as if dying, as she suffers the moral and physical wounds that were inflicted by the rapist.

 

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