1. CONSTATS Les violences basées sur le Genre demeurent un problème récurent en RDC. L’enquête en milieu urbain et en milieu semi urbain effectuée en 1999 par le Professeur GAMBEMBO indique que les femmes subissent diverses form es de violences dont physiques, morales, psychologiques et économiques. L’étude montre encore que 53% des femmes, jeunes et petites filles font l’objet de propos injurieux de la part de leurs partenaires masculins du fait de leur sexe, 39% sont victimes de coups et blessures et 27% de pratiques coutumières néfastes. Malgré le fait que ces violences basées sur le Genre soit un domaine de recherche encore très récent en RDC, les statistiques existantes semblent déjà alarmantes. En effet, déjà pour l’ensemble du pays, sur plus de 6.000 cas de s violences sexuelles enregistrés au début de l’année 2009 et à la suite des conflits armés, près de 99,2 % des victimes sont de sexe féminin alors que 0,8% sont de sexe masculin. En outre, cet état des lieux des violences basées sur le Genre en RDC indique la

persistance de plusieurs types des violences, à savoir :

Les violences liées aux conflits armés(viols, esclavage sexuel, Maternités précoces, Maternités non désirées, Destruction des organes génitaux, Contamination massive au VIH et Sida, Déplacements massifs, Errance, Dislocation familiale et marginalisation Traumatismes psycho sanitaires,

Aggravation de la pauvreté féminine, Tueries sauvages...).

Les violences sexuelles commises dans les zones hors conflit : viols, y compris de mineurs et d’enfants très jeunes dans les zones minières et dans le milieu scolaire, incestes, harcèlement sexuel, prostitution forcée, prostitution juvénile, mutilations

sexuelles etc.

Les violences socio-économique et culturelles : liées à la persistance des pratiques sociales rétrogrades et sexistes et à la dégradation des conditions de vie (Maltraitance des veuves, spoliation des orphelins, mariages précoces, mariages incestueux, mutilations sexuelles et physiques, croyances à la sorcellerie, infantilisation de la femme, prostitution juvénile ou forcée, etc....) ;

  • Les violences domestiques liées à la maltraitance et à la sous valorisation des contributions féminines dans le ménage et la famille (Femmes battues et humiliées, corvées ménagères, dépendance et soumission exigée des femmes, discriminations entre garçons et filles en famille...) ; Aux violences citées plus haut s’ajoutent des inégalités institutionnalisées liées aux dispositions discriminatoires de certains textes des lois encore en cours dont le Code civil et le Code de la Famille ; En effet, dans le domaine juridique, malgré le fait que la constitution de notre Pays votée par Référendum et les instruments juridiques internationaux ratifiés par la RDC reconnaissent l’égalité de droit entre l’homme et la femme, il est constaté encore ce jour l’existence des dispositions et des pratiques discriminatoires à l’égard de la femme dans tous les domaines notamment dans le Code de la Famille, le Code du travail, le statut du personnel de carrière des services publics de l’Etat, le Code de commerce...Les avancées dans le Code du Travail datent de 2002 avec l’élimination de l’oppositi on expresse de l’époux sur le contrat du Travail de la femme mariée. Par rapport aux coutumes, il y a lieu de reconnaitre que la société congolaise se caractérise par une riche diversité culturelle, matérialisée par la coexistence de plusieurs groupes ethniques répartis sur l’ensemble du territoire national. Ces groupes ethniques partagent pour l’essentiel les mêmes valeurs culturelles fondées sur les us et coutumes. Cependant, malgré la diversité de leurs croyances et pratiques, la majorité de ces groupes ethniques ont en commun la même perception différenciée des rôles masculins et féminins et des relations familiales entre les hommes et les femmes qui sont construites à partir d’une inégalité fondamentale entre l’homme ; le père et époux, chef de famille et la femme ; mère et épouse, gestionnaire du foyer. En effet, traditionnellement, c’est l’homme qui in carne l’autorité au sein du ménage ; il fixe les règles et le code de conduite et assure le contrôle et la gestion des biens familiaux. La femme, quant à elle, est réduite à la charge so ciale du fonctionnement de la vie domestique ; elle réalise les travaux ménagers et prend soin des enfants et autres membres de la famille. Le rôle d’autorité de l’homme et la position de subordination de la femme sont traduits à travers différentes institutions sociales . Dans le mariage, par exemple, l’homme détient le privilège du rôle actif et exerce un contrôle sur la fécondité du couple. Dans les processus éducationnels familiaux et communautaires, les hommes et les garçons jouissent d’un traitement spécial avec une plus grande permissivité et responsabilisation contrairement aux femmes qui sont limitées et contrôlées dans leurs mouvements et initiatives. Au niveau des activités sociales, la division sexiste du travail détermine la répartition des tâches entre les filles et les garçons, les hommes et les femmes. Inscrite dans le cadre des activités de production, de reproduction et au niveau communautaire, cette différenciation permet d’assigner aux hommes les travaux de production formels et valorisés tandis que aux femmes, les activités de maintien et de soins qui relèvent du registre des activités de reproduction non valorisées. En outre, les guerres ont augmenté la vulnérabilité des femmes face aux IST et aux VIH et SIDA. Face à l’infection au VIH et SIDA, les femmes sont plus vulnérables que les hommes, à cause des viols commis par les agresseurs, la multiplicité des partenaires sexuels, les traditions rétrogrades favorisant les rapports sexuels et la faible utilisation des préservatifs. Par rapport aux violences liées aux conflits armés, les femmes et les enfants constituent la population civile la plus touchée par les conséquences de la guerre. Ils représentent 75 % des personnes réfugiées ou déplacées de guerre suite aux conflits armés. Ces conflits ont causé des dommages incalculables et considérables et parfois irréparables sur l’Ecosystème. Ils ont occasionné en outre l’existence des enfants soldats (filles et garçons), un nombre élevé de femmes et d’enfants parmi les déplacés internes et déplacés de guerre, l’augmentation du nombre de veuves, d’orphelins et d’enfants non accompagnés. Ces conflits ont eu encore comme conséquence les viols massifs dont les femmes et les jeunes filles sont les plus grandes victimes et ont contribué à l’accroissement du taux élevé de VIH/SIDA. Dans cette optique, l’identification et la valorisation de l’expertise des femmes en interaction avec les défis de la promotion de la paix et de la sécurité conformément à la pertinente résolution1325 sont une optique indéniable. 2. CAUSES: Les violences basées sur le Genre sont liées pour la plupart, aux coutumes, traditions et mœurs, aux pratiques sociales dans la vie domestique, à la faible scolarisation et l’ignorance par les femmes de leurs droits ainsi qu’aux conflits armés et autres qui ont marqué la RDC. Parmi les causes récentes de la majorité des violences sexuelles, il est bien établi que les viols, les mutilations et esclavage sexuel ainsi que les grossesses forcées ont été utilises comme arme de guerre et principalement associé aux conflits et aux hommes en uniforme. Ces pratiques imposées par les groupes armés ét rangers sont venues s’ajouter aux profonds déséquilibres socio-économiques crées par des décades de paupérisation et de violences subies à la fois par les hommes et les femmes. Les violences basées sur le Genre sont aussi sous-tendues par le faible statut de la fille et de la femme qui ne leur permet pas de revendiquer leurs droits. Plus précisément, la grande crise sécuritaire et humanitaire que traverse la RDC depuis 15 ans et dont les principales victimes sont les femmes et les enfants est venue renforcer dramatiquement la situation déjà précaire des femmes en termes de protection des droits, de chance et de sexe. La prolifération des violences sexuelles parmi les civils constitue une des retombées du conflit. En effet, les communautés les plus affectées sont celles qui sont exposées aux conflits multiformes (meurtres, usage du viol comme arme de guerre et entrainant des changements profonds de comportements chez les hommes et les garçons associés aux atrocités commises ainsi que des cycles répétitifs de vengeance et représailles dérivant de ces crimes...). Des causes autres que celles liées aux conflits armés ont été évoquées, notamment les règlements de compte pour des raisons diverses. En ce qui concerne les autres formes de violences basées sur le genre, le manque d’information sur les droits des femmes freine leur prise de conscience et leur capacité à prévenir et à prendre toute action nécessaire pour s’ériger contre les violences subies au quotidien. L’ignorance couplée à des tabous socioculturels explique également la persistance de ces formes de violences. La précarité des conditions de vie et de logement rend les filles et les femmes particulièrement exposées aux risques de violences. Dans le secteur de l’habitat, par exemple, selon MICS2, la promiscuité est forte car 73,3% des maisons de deux chambres à coucher sont habitées par une famille nombreuse de 6 à 7 enfants en moyenne. En outre, 15,7% de femmes chefs de ménage sont logées par un parent contre 8,9% d’hommes. 69,3% des femmes chefs de ménage sont propriétaires contre 75,4% d’hommes. Dans le domaine de l’électricité, seulement 5% de femmes y ont accès contre 13% d’hommes. Les femmes, les jeunes et petites filles parcourent des longues distances pour des corvées d’eau et de bois de chauffage et/ ou pour des marchés, traversant des espaces isolés et insécurisés. Dans les centres urbains les femmes et les filles restent jusqu’à tard à vendre des produits au bord de la route pour la survie de la famille et c’est souvent dans des espaces insuffisamment éclairés. 3. CONSEQUENCES: L’impact des violences sexuelles et basées sur le genre sur la société congolaise est énorme. Les enfants hors des zones de conflit deviennent de plus en plus des cibles privilégiées de viol et les cas d’inceste prennent des dimensions inquiétantes. D’autres formes de violence sexuelle se sont aussi développées. Au delà des conséquences néfastes sur les femmes, la violence sexuelle est devenue une menace sur la sécurité humaine. Des familles et des communautés entières ont été déshumanisées et détruites par les traumatismes divers qu’elles ont subies (dislocation des familles, exclusion et rejet des victimes, enfants nés du viol, paupérisation des communautés, climat de peur et de vengeance, abandon des terres, etc.). Ainsi donc, le manque de gestion adéquate par les uns et les autres de cette situation brutale et gigantesque liées aux violences basées sur le Genre produit à ce jour les conséquences suivantes : déportations des femmes et des filles pour l’esclavage sexuel, les mariages précoces et la prolifération des enfants non désirés, contamination massive et utilisation du VIH et Sida comme arme de guerre, émergence du phénomène des enfants soldats, déperdition scolaire et accroissement de l’analphabétisme et, malheureusement, l’installation de l’impunité, de la non indemnisation des victimes ainsi que de la non réparation des dégâts causés.

LES DEFIS A RELEVER Le défi majeur de la stratégie Nationale de lutte contre les violences basées sur le Genre est la coordination de la prévention, de la protection, de la réponse aux victimes et survivantes, de la gestion des informations et des données ainsi que de la synergie entre les institutions publiques et privées et les partenaires d’appui en rapport avec les violences faites à la Femme,à la Jeune et Petite Fille en RDC.

1. Au niveau de la prévention et de la protection Etant donné que les violences sexuelles constituent depuis une quinzaine d’années en RDC, la forme des violences faites à la Femme, à la Jeune et Petite Fille la plus manifeste, surtout à la suite des conflits armés dans le Pays et conscient des conséquences qui en découlent pour la poursuite de la pacification et la sécurisation de la RDC ainsi que la consolidation de la stabilité et de la paix durable dans la Région des Grands Lacs, le défi prioritaire de cette Stratégie Nationale de lutte contre les violences basées sur le Genre est celui de l’implication suffisante des pouvoirs publics quel que soit le secteur, dans les actions planifiées et coordonnées de protection et des réponses aux VBG. Sur le plan de la protection et de la prévention, l’un des défis majeures de cette strategie s’avère être aussi l’engagement effectif des acteurs étatiques ainsi que des leaders communautaires dans les mécanismes de la prévention, de la gestion et de la résolution des conflits ainsi que de la consolidation de la stabilité et de la paix durable ; de faire participer les femmes et les hommes sur un pied d’égalité à tous les efforts visant à maintenir et à promouvoir la paix et la sécurité ; que les hommes qu’ils soient chefs de famille, jeunes ou leaders d’opinion soient associés pleinement à la lutte contres toutes les formes de violences faite aux filles et aux femmes et qu’ils participent davantage à toutes les actions tant de sensibilisation que de dénonciation de ces actes dégradants tant pour eux-mêmes que pour les victimes. Un autre défi lié à la prévention et à la protection est relatif aux approches d’interventions. En effet, l’intervention sur les communautés affectées plutôt que sur les victimes directes et à la rigueur celle de la famille permet de relever la communauté toute entière et d’agir sur les potentiels agresseurs tout en aplanissant les tensions sociales latentes. L’autre défi lié à la prévention et à la protection par rapport à la lutte contre les violences basées sur le Genre reste l’application des dispositions légales en vigueur, la finalisation des reformes des secteurs de sécurité et l’intégration du genre dans les politiques, programmes et projets de développement conformément aux recommandations de la Plate forme de Beijing. 2. Au niveau de la Réponse aux Victimes et survivantes Par rapport à la réponse aux Victimes et aux Surviv antes des violences basées sur le Genre, le défi majeur est certainement la prise en compte du genre dans la mise en œuvre du Document de Stratégie Nationale pour la Croissance et la Réduction de la Pauvreté (DSCRP) « Nouvelle Génération » comme une valeur ajoutée pour la réalisation de ses objectifs de la création des richesses et de croissance économique en vue du développement durable car pour atteindre les objectifs du développement qu’elle s’est fixée dans le DSCRP d’ici à 2015 conformément aux Objectifs Millénaires du Développement( OMD), la RDC a besoin d’un taux de croissance à deux chiffres. Ce qui n’est pas possible s’il ne bénéficie pas la contribution de la partie la plus importante de ses ressources humaines et de sa population active que sont les femmes lorsqu’elles sont diminuées par les violences. Dans ce sens, l’autre défi important est l’intégration de l’approche « Droit » basée sur les nécessités d’équité et de justice sociale dans l’élaboration et la mise en œuvre des outils d’opérationnalisation économique conformément aux recommandations de Beijing (Budget, lois, codes, revenu...) pour promouvoir et protéger les droits économiques des femmes car la féminisation de la pauvreté en RDC qui est la voie de l’exploitation et des violences de tout genre faites aux femme, aux jeunes et petites filles, reste aggravée par une structure socio- économique patriarcale à la base des relations sociales et de pouvoir inégales entre les sexes. Le renforcement du pouvoir économique des femmes par l’accès et le contrôle des ressources reste un autre défi non moins important à relever par rapport à la Réponse aux victimes et aux Survivantes car la réduction de la pauvreté passe nécessairement par une création des richesses qui, elle, relève sans nul doute de l’ amélioration de la productivité de la majorité de la population active que sont les femmes. D’où la nécessité de les voir autant présentes que les hommes dans les différents secteurs de production et de commercialisation. Les limitations rencontrées dans la prise en compte des besoins d’assistance des familles des survivants et la question de prise en charge des auteurs d’un point de vue psycho-social pour le besoin de la réhabilitation et de la réintégration demeurent encore sans nul doute d’autres défis à relever. 3. Au niveau de la gestion des informations et des données Si l’on tient compte du fait que le contexte social et culturel de la RDC reste encore globalement défavorable à l’ habilitation de la femme, un des défis majeurs par rapport à la gestion des informations et données relatives à lutte contre les violences basées sur le Genre est sans doute l’adoption et la mise en application de la Loi sur la mise en œuvre de la Parité Homme Femme qui, en promouvant le critère objectif de l’égalité des droits, des chances et des sexes dans la famille, la scolarisation, l’emploi et à tous les niveaux de la vie nationale et particulièrement celle de la revitalisation de la jeunesse, donneront des indicateurs précis et un ciblage des foyers de l’évaluation de la situation des violences faites à la Femme, à la Jeune et Petite Fille. Un autre défi aussi dans ce domaine de gestion des informations et des données par rapport à la lutte contre les violences basées sur le Genre reste évidemment celui relatif à l’établissement réel de l’ampleur des violences basées sur le genre vécues en RDC dont particulièrement les violences sexuelles pour une meilleure prise en charge. En effet, la loi contre les violences sexuelles adoptées en Juillet 2006 par le Parlement ayant limité la question aux violences sexuelles identifiées seulement à l’effet des conflits armés, devrait être réaménagée dans le cadre plus vaste de l’élaboration et de la mise en œuvre de la présente Stratégie Nationale de lutte contre toutes les formes des violences basées sur le Genre. La gestion efficace des informations et des données ainsi que de toutes les contributions en rapport avec la lutte contre les violences faites à la Femme, à la Jeune et Petite Fille reste certainement un autre défi important à relever car si les préoccupations sur les violences basées sur le Genre en RDC, particulièrement celles sexuelles, ont ces derniers temps touché visiblement l’attention de l’opinion tant nationale que internationale pour y apporter leurs soutiens et contributions divers, il y a lieu de reconnaitre que ceux-ci se sont souvent accompagnés d’une insuffisance et d’une disproportion d’évaluations des besoins réels sur le terrain et d’un manque de compréhension de la complexité du problème. La présente stratégie nationale devra donc à cet effet donner lieu à la mise en place d’un mécanisme national centralisé pour permettre une meilleure répartition des activités et actions ainsi que des rôles et des responsabilités en matière des réponses à donner contre toutes les formes des violences faites à la Femme, à la Jeune et Petite Fille. L’insuffisance de données pertinentes susceptibles d’améliorer l’impact des interventions et le manque de données sur les différentes formes de violence courants dans le pays limitent les actions à programmer ainsi que les mécanismes de suivi et d’évaluation de la mise en œuvre de la présente Stratégie Nationale de lutte contre les violences basées sur le Genre. Le fait que les objectifs de la présente Stratégie Nationale de lutte contre les violences basées sur le Genre devront s’adapter et s’améliorer par rapport aux indicateurs de la mise en œuvre de la Politique Nationale Genre reste également un défi important à relever à ce niveau. 4. Au niveau des institutions de la République Etant donné qu’il ne s’agit pas pour le Gouvernement de la République de manifester simplement un intérêt de pure forme à ce problème récurent de lutte contre les violences basées sur le Genre mais bien davantage d’assurer qu’il y apporte un engagement et des préoccupations ainsi que des mesures concrètes soient prises et incorporées dans les processus des réformes en cours dans le Pays dont en particulier celles de la Justice, de l’Armée, de la Police et des Forces de sécurité, le défi institutionnel à relever dans ce se ns est la garantie de la volonté politique du Gouvernement par le renforcement de l’impact social et politique attendu de ces multiples réformes. Le renforcement de la pacification de l’ensemble du territoire national et la consolidation de la paix, particulièrement à l’Est de la RDC reste un autre défi à relever par les institutions de notre Pays. En effet, les conflits armés et autres situations d’insécurité en RDC ainsi que les déplacements des populations et autres catastrophes sociales qu’ils entrainent, aggravent chaque jour l’état des violences de toutes sortes dont les femmes, jeunes et petites filles sont victimes. La présente stratégie devra donner une réponse efficace et concrète à ces situations déplorables et portantes atteinte à la paix, à la sécurité, au développement et à la démocratie dans notre Pays. Un autre défi non moins important à relever à ce niveau est le Renforcement de l’action du Gouvernement de la République contre l’impunité et les violations des droits de la personne humaine dans notre Pays. En effet, la préoccupation des violences basées sur le Genre semble faire partie d’un climat généralisé dans le Pays d’impunité et des violations flagrantes des droits de la personne humaine. La présente stratégie nationale devra donc dans ce sens répondre aux problèmes fondamentaux de protection des droits civils, politiques, sociaux, économiques et culturels des populations vulnérables dont en particulier ceux des femmes, des jeunes et petites filles. Cependant, la réalisation de tous ces défis à re lever reste nécessairement liée à l’identification précise des certaines contraintes relevant des interventions en cours dans le domaine de lutte contre les violences sexuelles et basées sur le Genre, à savoir : A. Par rapport à la Prévention et à l’appui institutionnel : • La Faiblesse des institutions en charge de l’application de la loi; • L’Insécurité et la stabilisation des zones qui sortent du conflit; • Le Sentiment d’insécurité accentué des filles et des femmes qui n’osent pas dénoncer les auteurs, la peur du stigma familial et social, le non rapportage des cas et la non visibilité de l’ampleur du problème, l’impunité et la faible responsabilisation des acteurs étatiques et des leaders communautaires; • L’Insuffisances de données pertinentes à un suivi évaluation susceptible d’améliorer l’impact des interventions; • La Prise en compte insuffisante des besoins d’assistance et la question de prise en charge des auteurs; 20 • Le Niveau d’instruction très limite des filles et des femmes et le non respect des droits des femmes; • L’Impact du conflit sur les comportements des hommes et femmes ainsi que dans leur rapport y compris l’apparition d’une culture de la violence. • La Faible prise en compte de la dimensi on genre dans la lutte contre les violences sexuelles et basées sur le Genre et l’absence de plans d’actions provincial et sectoriel pour élaborer un cadre d’intervention pour tous les acteurs intervenant dans ce domaine; • La Faible intégration du genre dans les processus de réforme de la justice et du secteur de la sécurité : les officiers chargés de la restauration de l’Etat de Droit ne comprennent pas toujours le lien entre la protection des femmes et des jeunes filles et la survenance des violences sexuelles. Ils sont peu outillés pour mettre en œuvre la loi de 2006 sur les violences sexuelles et tendent à croire que c’est une affaire des ONGs locales; • Les Ressources limitées allouées à l’éducation aux droits humains et de la femme et à la sensibilisation autour des instru ments juridiques compte tenu des résistances socioculturelles auxquelles la Loi doit encore faire face en RDC; B. Par rapport à l’Assistance médicale • Beaucoup de centres de santé ne sont pas couverts dans le cadre de l’assistance médico-sanitaire aux victimes de viol. La plupart d’entre eux ne sont, ni équipés, ni fournis en médicaments essentiels et ne peuvent par conséquent pas offrir une assistance adéquate aux victimes. Cela entraîne une priorisation des nouveaux cas/nouvelles arrivées qui sont traités tandis que « les anciens » sont délaissés; • Les infrastructures médicales sont délabrées et éloignées, les kits PEP en nombre insuffisant, les ruptures de stocks fréquentes. Dans ces conditions, seules les victimes directes sont reçues et les enfants issus de viols ne sont pas souvent pris en charge ; à certains endroits, les femmes résistent à prendre les Kit PEP, même quand ils sont disponibles; • Le manque d’intégration systématique et de dissémination dans toutes les structures de soin de la prise en charge des violences sexuelles et basées sur le Genre qui entraînent souvent la stigmatisation des personnes qui se rendent dans les centres de prise en charge identifiés; • La difficulté de prise en charge des présumés auteurs (dénoncés ou pas) mais également exposés au risque d’IST ou d’infection au VIH; • La difficulté d’accès des femmes et des hommes aux moyens de protection contre les IST/SIDA (condoms masculins et féminins); • Le Faible lien du secteur médical avec les structures de prise en charge pour les ARV. C. Par rapport à l’Assistance psycho-sociale • La Capacité limitée des centres de counselling : Assistance ponctuelle donnée aux victimes directes de viol sans suivi adéquat;

• L’Insuffisance d’assistance psycho-sociale orientée vers les familles et les communautés affectées; • L’Insuffisance d’assistance psycho-sociale et clinique orientée vers les présumés auteurs éliminant ainsi la possibilité d’identifier ceux qui souffriraient de traumatismes ou qui présenteraient des signes de perturbation mentale. Ce type d’assistance serait pourtant particulièrement nécessaire pour ceux vivant en zones de conflit ou post-conflit; • La presque inexistence d’infrastructures (refuge ou centre de transit) pour les victimes qui ont été abusées par les membres de la famille ou expulsées de leurs familles et l’absence de soins complets et de suivi à cause de l’indisponibilité des ressources; • L’Insuffisance d’assistance aux enfants nés de viol et souvent rejetés par leurs familles venant ainsi grossir le nombre des enfants de la rue. Le Soutien psychologique approprié aux familles et surtout aux conjoints des victimes est également absent des programmes par manque de ressources; • L’Absence d’accompagnement des familles et de sensibilisation des communautés entraînant la marginalisation et l’exclusion des survivants. Ce qui leur fait subir plus de traumatisme. D. Par rapport à l’Assistance judicaire et légale • En plus des dysfonctionnements bien documentés du système judicaire, les efforts pour faciliter l’accès des victimes à la justice sont limités par l’insuffisance d’avocats bien formés ou de para juristes prêts à se déployer dans les zones où se trouvent les victimes. Ceux qui s’engagent dans cette forme d’assistance doivent faire face aux difficultés liés à la fois aux limites du système judicaire et à la peur de la stigmatisation qui empêche aux victimes de dénoncer leurs agresseurs; • En dépit du fait que plusieurs cas sont résolus en dehors des tribunaux, beaucoup d’intervenants focalisent leurs actions au niveau de la justice formelle au lieu de responsabiliser aussi les juges coutumiers, les leaders traditionnels et communautaires dans l’assistance aux victimes; • L’absence d’un mécanisme de compensation pour des victimes déjà économiquement vulnérables ne les motive pas à s’engager dans une démarche de procès semée d’embûches; • Aucune assistance légale n’est offerte aux présumés agresseurs et dans la plupart de cas, ils sont considérés comme présumés coupables, ce qui ne crée pas les conditions pour un procès équitable et conduit parfois à des abus graves. E. Par rapport au Relèvement communautaire et à la réintégration socio-économique • Les violences sexuelles et basées sur le Genre ont considérablement affaibli les victimes et imposé une ponction sur leurs maigres ressources. Elles rendent les femmes surtout plus vulnérables, physiquement et psychiquement en ce qu’elles les éloignent de leurs activités de soutien à la famille, mais aussi leur font manquer des opportunités économiques et de leur faible statut.Paradoxalement, les programmes de relèvement socio-économiquene permettent pas de relever les 22 défis d’un relèvement durable pour les filles et les femmes en période de reconstruction. • Les efforts ponctuels et les « paquets deréinsertion » qui ont été fournis ont apporté très peu de changement dans la condition des femmes en ce qu’ils ne leur permettent pas de reprendre de manière durable leurs activités ou d’en entreprendre d’autres pouvant améliorer leurs conditions de vie. • De plus, les efforts liées à la réintégration des groupes à risques (milices armées, ex-combattants, ex-enfants soldats, filles et femmes cohabitant avec les groupes armés, esclaves sexuelles, enfants issus des viols, chômeurs et déplacés internes) sont limités ou inexistants. Pour les quelques agresseurs qui ont été identifiés et/ou condamnés, aucun programme de réhabilitation n’a été mis en place. • De même beaucoup de condamnés ne restent pas longtemps en prison car les conditions carcérales sont déplorables et favorisent les évasions. F. Par rapport au Suivi et évaluation • La plupart des interventions ont lieu de façon non soutenue et n’ont pas un cadre de suivi-évaluation adéquat. En l’absence d’un plan d’action national et provincial en rapport avec les violences sexuelles et basées sur le Genre, le suivi- évaluation ne permet pas de mesurer l’impact ni d’apprécier l’efficacité des interventions. • L’absence de données de base fiables compromet aussi les chances de faire reposer un suivi -évaluation sur des bases solides. G. Par rapport à la Coordination • Malgré l’effort du Gouvernement à travers le Ministère du Genre, Famille et Enfant pour assurer le leadership du sous groupe thématique Violences Sexuelles, les efforts entrepris par les partenaires restent éparpillés et ne correspondent pas toujours aux priorités nationales car il n’existe aucun cadre de référence précis encore mis en place. De plus la multiplicité des mécanismes de coordination des interventions et des actions en la matière demeure un problème auquel le ministère du genre, famille et et enfant souhaite remédier. Aussi, malgré les quelques mécanismes établis au niveau provincial et local pour servir de cadre de coordination entre les administrations publiques, les ONG et les partenaires internationaux, la plupart d’entre eux ne sont pas outillés pour assurer une coordination efficace. • En outre, les groupes chargés de protection et d’assistance humanitaire n’envisagent leurs actions que dans une perspective d’urgence. Par ailleurs, même si les structures locales intervenant dans la lutte contre les violences sexuelles bénéficient pour la plupart de formations qui renforcent leurs capacités, elles ne sont cependant pas appuyées et restent incapables d’intervenir de façon efficace sur terrain.

English translation by community member liannareed

State of Gender Based Violence in the DRC

  1. Review/Statement

Gender based violence remains a recurring problem in the DRC. The investigation in urban areas and semi urban areas undertaken in 1999 by Professor Gambembo indicates that women suffer diverse forms of violence including physical, moral, psychological and economical. The study shows that 53% of women youth and young girls are subject to abuse by their male partners because of their sex. 39% are victims of attacks and injuries and 27% are victims of harmful customary practices. Despite the fact that gender based violence is a new area of research in the DRC the existing statistics are already very alarming. In effect, already for the majority of the country more than 6,000 cases of sexual violence have been registered since the beginning of 2009. Following armed conflicts around 99.2% of the victims are women and therefore only 0.8% are men. Additionally the state of gender-based violence in the DRC indicates the persistence of many types of violence that are:

Violence associated with armed conflict (rape, sexual slavery, early pregnancy, unwanted pregnancy, destruction of genital organs, widespread HIV and AIDS, massive displacement, wandering, family dislocation and marginalization, post-traumatic stress disorder, aggravation of women’s poverty, and mass-killings).

Sexual violence occurs in zones outside of conflict: rape, which happens to miners and to very young children in mining zones and in school areas. Incest, sexual harassment, forced prostitution, juvenile prostitution, sexual mutilation, etc.

Socio-economic and cultural violence: related to the persistence of socially retrograde practices and sexism that lead to the degradation of life’s conditions. (Mistreatment of widows, dispossession of orphans, early marriage, incestuous marriage, sexual and physically mutilation, beliefs in sorcery, infantilization of women, prostitution, both youth and forced, etc.);

Domestic violence related to the mistreatment and under value of women’s contribution to the housework and to the family (beaten women, fatigued housewives, dependence and demand of submissive women, discrimination between girls and boys in the family…); Cited violence is highest in institutional inequalities related to discriminatory dispositions throughout certain legal texts, civil code, and the family code; In effect, in the legal domain, despite the fact that the constitution of our country voted for the referendum and the international judicial instruments ratified by the DRC recognize the equality of rights between men and women it is still clear that to this day there exists dispositions and discriminatory practices towards women. This is true in all areas particularly the Family Code, the Work Code, the statute of personal career to public services for the state, and Code of Commerce. The progress of the Work Code dating to 2002 with the elimination of intentional opposition of spouses under the contract of work for married women.

Compared to customs there is a place to recognize that the Congolese society is characterized by a rich, diverse culture, realized by the coexistence of many different ethnic groups living together on the same territory. These ethnic groups essentially share the same cultural values based in customs and traditions. However despite the diversity of their beliefs and practices, the majority of these ethnic groups have a common perception of the differentiation between male and female roles and family relationships between women and men. This inequality is constructed from the fundamental inequality between man; the father, spouse, and head of the family and the woman; mother and spouse manager of the home. Traditionally it is man who personifies the authority in the household; he makes the rules and the code of conduct and assures the control and the movement of goods for the family. The woman meanwhile is reduced to the social happenings, the household chores and taking care of the children and other members of the family. The authoritative role of the man and the position of subordination of the woman translate into different social institutions.

In marriage for example, the man possesses the privilege of the active role and the ability to exercise control over the fertility of the couple. In the family and community educational processes the men and the boys benefit from special treatment with a permissiveness and responsibility contrary to women who are limited and controlled in their movements and their initiatives. At the social activity level, the sexist division of work determines the distribution of tasks between girls and boys and men and women. Inscribed in the frame of production activities and reproduction at the community level this differentiation allows men to be assigned to formal and valorized productive work while for women, the activities are to maintain and care which are activities that are not registered as valorized activities of reproduction. Additionally, the wars are augmented by the vulnerability of women faced with STIs, HIV and AIDS. Face with the infection of HIV and AIDS women are more vulnerable then men because of rape committed by the aggressors, the multiplicity of sexual partners, the retrograde traditions that favor sexual relations and low use of contraceptives.

In relation to violence linked to armed conflict, women and children constitute the civilian population the most affected by the consequences of war. They represent 75% of refugees and displaced persons of war following armed conflicts. These conflicts are caused by immeasurable damages and considerable often-irreparable damages to the ecosystem. The conflicts occasionally lead to the existence of child soldiers (girls and boys), an increased number of women and children among the internally displaced and those displaced by war, the increase in the number of widows, orphans, and unaccompanied children. As consequences these conflicts still have massive rapes, which women and young girls are the largest victims and have also contributed to the increase of highly elevated rates of HIV/AIDS. In this perspective the identification and the promotion of peace and in compliance with security of the 1325 UN resolution is undeniable.

  1. Causes Gender based violence is marked in the DRC as it is often related for the most part to customs, traditions, and habits in social practices in domestic life, low education rates and the ignorance of women’s rights as well as armed conflicts. The majority of sexual violence is caused by rapes, mutilations and sexual slavery as well as forced pregnancy that are used as weapons of war and principally associated with conflicts and with men in uniform. These imposed practices committed by armed groups and rebels have come to add deeper socio-economic inequalities created by decades of pauperization and violence suffered by both men and women.

Gender based violence is also strained by the weak status of the girl and the woman who is not permitted to claim her rights. More precisely, the large security and humanitarian crisis throughout the DRC for 15 years, which has made women and children the principal victims, has reinforced dramatically the already precarious situation of women in terms of the protection of her rights, luck and sexuality. The proliferation of sexual violence within civil society constitutes one of the consequences of conflict. Indeed the communities the most affected are those that are exposed to many different forms of conflict (murders, use of rape as a weapon of war, resulting changes in the behavior of men and boys associated with atrocities and the repetitive cycles of vengeance that arise from these crimes…). The other causes that are related to armed conflict are notably the regulations that arise for diverse reasons. Such that concerns other forms of gender based violence, the lack of information on women’s rights as an obstacle to take consciousness and their capacity to predict and to take all action necessary to raise the awareness of violence suffered daily. The ignorance coupled with socio-cultural taboos explains the persistence of these forms of violence.

The instability of life conditions and housing conditions given to girls and women particularly exposes them to risks of violence. In the housing sector, for example, according to MICS2 the over crowdedness is strong because 73.3% of the houses with two bedrooms are lived in by one family with 6 to 7 children on average. In addition, 15.7% of women head of households live with a parent in contrast to 8.9% of men. 69.3% of women head of households are owners compared to that of 75.4% of men. In the field of electricity only 5% of women have access to it in contrast to 13% of men. Women, youth, and young girls travel long distances to get water and wood for heating and/or for the markets and traverse isolated and insecure spaces. In urban centers women and girls stay up late to sell the products on the side of the road to help the family and often the spaces are insufficiently lighted.

  1. Consequences The impact of gender-based violence on Congolese society is huge. Children outside of zones of conflict become more and more the privileged targets of rape and the cases of incest become worrying. Other forms of sexual violence also appear. Beyond the harmful consequences on women, sexual violence has become a threat to human security. Families and entire communities are dehumanized and destroyed by various traumas that they are subjected to (dislocation of families, exclusion and rejection of victims, children born out of rape, pauperization of communities, a climate of fear and vengeance and the desertion of land, etc.) And therefore the lack of adequate management by one another in this brutal situation of violence based on gender produces the following consequences: deportation of women and girls into sexual slavery, early marriage and the proliferation of unwanted children, massive contamination and the use of HIV and AIDS as a weapon of war, emerging phenomena of child soldiers, loss of schooling and increase in illiteracy and unfortunately the installation of impunity, the lack of compensation of victims and the lack of reparation for damages caused.

The challenges to pick up

The major challenge for the national strategy in the fight against gender based violence is the coordination of prevention, protection and the response for victims and survivors and the management of information and data as well as the synergy of support between public and private institutions and other partners in relation to violence against women, youth and young girls in the DRC.

  1. At the level of prevention and protection given that sexual violence has occurred in the DRC for the past 15 years, the form of violence against, women, youth and young girls is the most obvious in armed conflicts throughout the country. It is necessary to be conscious of the consequences that follow the pacification and securitization of the DRC as well as the strengthening of the stability and a sustainable peace in the Great Lakes Region. The main challenge of this National Strategy in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) is the sufficient implementation of these organized actions and coordinated protection in responses to GBV. Under the plan of protection and prevention, one of the major challenges is that this strategy proves to also need the engagement of effective state actors as well as community leaders in the mechanisms of protection. The management and the resolution of conflicts together with the strengthening of stability and a sustainable peace must include the participation of men and women on equal footing with their efforts focused on maintaining and promoting peace and security. Whether these men are heads of family, youth, or leaders they must be fully supportive of the fight against all forms of violence against girls and women and they must participate in all the efforts of awareness and the denunciation of these degrading acts for themselves and for the victims.

Another challenge related to the prevention and protection is related to the approaches of interventions. Indeed the effect of community intervention rather than on the individual victims can raise the entire community to take action against the potential aggressors while smoothing the latent tensions. Another challenge related to the prevention and protection of the fight against gender based violence lies with the application of legal depositions put into law and the finalization of security sector reforms and the integration of gender into politics, programs, and projects of development in conjunction with the recommendations from the Beijing Platform.

  1. At the level of response to victims and survivors of gender based violence the major challenge is certainly taking gender into account in the implementation of the National Strategy Document for Growth and Poverty Reduction (DSCRP) “New Generation” as an added value for the achievement of its objectives and the creation of wealth and economic growth in view of sustainable development to attain these development objectives as is written in the DSCRP by 2015 in connection with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The DRC must have a rate of growth in double digits by then. It is not possible to achieve these goals if part of the most important contribution of its human resources and their active populations, its women, are diminished by violence.

In this same vein, the other important challenge is the integration of a rights based approach on the necessary equality and social justice in the elaboration of the implementation of economic operational tools in compliance with the recommendations from Beijing (budget, laws, codes, and reviews). To promote and protect the economic rights of women with the increase of the feminization of poverty in the DRC, which is the main path of exploitation and violence of all forms towards women, youth, and young girls. This poverty is exacerbated by the patriarchal socio-economic structure, which is the base of social relations and unequal power sharing between sexes. The power of economic reinforcement of women by giving them access and control of resources remains a challenge no less important. It is necessary to respond to victims and survivors because the reduction of poverty is necessarily a consequence of the wealth which itself falls undoubtedly into ameliorating the work force and creating an active population of women laborers. It is necessary to see that men are present in all the different sectors of production and marketing. The limitations met in taking into account the needs of family assistance for survivors and the question of who takes charge puts the point of view of the psycho-social concept of need and the rehabilitation and reintegration which remains still without a doubt one of the challenges to overcome.

  1. At the level of management of information and data, if we allow the fact that the social and cultural context of the DRC remains globally unfavorable towards the authorization of women, one of the major challenges in relation to this management of information and data is related to the fight against Gender Based Violence. It is important that the adoption and the implementation of the law of parity between men and momen which promote the objective criteria for equal rights and chances for all gender within the family, for schooling, employment, and at all levels of the national life and particularly the revitalization of the youth, gives precise indicators and targets homes for the evaluation of the situation of violence against women, youth and young girls.

Another challenge also in the area of information and data management in relation to the fight against Gender Based Violence is the establishment of the lived experiences of women who are victims of sexual violence. A law against sexual violence was adopted in July 2006 by the parliament with limitations including only the identification of sexual violence as a consequence of armed conflict. In fact it should be categorized much larger and presented as a law implemented as a National Strategy in the fight against all forms of Gender Based Violence. This effective management of information and data along with all the contributions related to violence against women, youth, and young girls remains certainly a challenge to overcome. It is evident that the national and international opinion is to support the diversity of opinions and to acknowledge the insufficient and disproportion of evaluations of needs on the ground in understanding this complex problem.

The current national strategy should be therefore to give place to the implementation of a central national mechanism to allow for a better distribution of activities and actions as well as the roles and responsibilities of material given in the fight against all forms of violence against women, youth, and young girls. The lack of pertinent data is likely to affect the impact of the interventions and the lack of data of different forms of violence throughout the country limits the actions of the program. The fact that the objectives of the current National Strategy in the fight against Gender Based Violence must adapt and made more effective in relation to the indicators implemented by the National Gender Policy remains equally a challenge necessary to overcome at this level.

At the level of the institutions of the country they must not simply organize with the interest to fight the recurrent problem of Gender Based Violence but rather bring a commitmenta and concerns on concrete measures to be incorporated into the process of reforms for the country, particularly in Justice, the Army and the Police and other forces of security. The institutional challenge to pick up the slack is not guaranteed by the passion of the government’s policies or by the reinforcement of the social and political impact. The strengthening of the pacification together with the national territory and the consolidation of peace, particularly in the east of the DRC remains a challenge to be taken up by the institutions of our country. The armed conflicts and other situations of insecurity in the DRC as well as the displacement of populations and other social catastrophes aggravate each day the state of violence committed against women, youth, and young girls.

The current strategy will give an effective and concrete response to these deplorable situations and keep good faith surrounding peace, security, development and democracy in our country. Another challenge no less important is at the level of reinforcement and the action of the government against impunity and violations of rights of humans in our county. In effect, the preoccupation with Gender Based Violence seems to be a part of the blatant general climate in the country of impunity and violation of human rights. The current national strategy will therefore in a sense, respond to fundamental problems like the protection of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of the vulnerable population, in particular the women, youth and young girls. However this realization of all these challenges to deal with remain to be linked to the precise identification of certain constraints related to interventions in the fight against Sexual and Gender Based Violence:

A. Prevention and Institutional support: • Weakness of institutions tasked with implementing the law; • Insecurity and stabilization of zones after conflict; • The feeling of insecurity accentuated for girls and women that does not dare denounce the perpetrators for fear of family and social stigma, the lack of reporting on these cases, the invisibility of the size of the problem, impunity and the weak responsibility of state actors and community leaders; • The insufficient pertinent data followed by sensitive evaluations to improve the impact of interventions; • The inclusion of insufficient assistance and the question of support when charging perpetrators; • Level of instruction is very limited for girls and women and there is no respect for women’s rights; • The impact of conflict on the behavior of men and women as well as their relationship to the outbreak of a culture of violence; • The lack of inclusion of a gender dimension in the fight against Gender Based Violence and the absence of provincial and sector-specific action plans to elaborate on the frame of intervention for all the actors involved; • The lack of integration of gender in these processes of judicial reform and in the security sector: officers charged with the restoration of the Rights of the State do not always understand the link between the protection of women and young girls and the incidence of sexual violence. They are little equipped to put into action the law of 2006 on sexual violence and tend to believe it is a matter for local NGOs; • The limited resources allowed for human rights education of education for women and awareness given legal resistance to the implementation of these laws

B. Medical Assistance • A lot of health centers do not cover medical assistance for victims of rape. The majority of these centers are not equipped, supplied essential medicines and cannot therefore offer adequate assistance to the victims. This leads to the prioitization of new cases while the “old” cases are neglected; • The medical infrastructures are dilapidated and far away. The PEP kits are insufficent, the rupture of stocks is frequent. In these conditions victims directly received and children that are victims of rape are not often taken; in certain places women resist the PEP kit, even when they are available.; • The lack of systematic integration and dissemnation in all structures of care, especially related to Gender Based Sexual Violence which holds a certain stigma for people, particularly in the centers where they are identified; • The difficulty of support for presumed perpetrators (denounced or not) but equally exposed to the risk of STIs or HIV infection; • The difficulty of access to men and women at methods of protection against STIs and AIDS (male and female condoms); • The weak link between the medical sector and the support for ARV;

C. Psycho-Social Assistance • The limited ability of counseling centers; punctual assistance given to victims of rape without adequate follow-up; • Insufficient psycho-social assistance oriented towards families and communities affected • Insufficient psychosocial assistance towards presumed perpetrators to eliminate the problem and to identify those who suffer from trauma and who present with signs of mental perturbation. This type of assistance will be particularly necessary for those that live in conflict or post-conflict zones; • The lack of infrastructures (refuges or places of transit) for the victims who were abused by family members and exiled from their families and the absence of complete care because of the lack of resources; • The lack of assistance for children born out of rape and the following rejection by their families leading to the increasing number of children reliant on the state. The psychological support given to families and victims also lacks resources; • The absence of support and awareness for families and communities given the marginalization and exclusion of survivors, which only leads to more traumas.

D. Judicial and Legal Assistance • Further dysfunction of good documents in the judicial system, the efforts to facilitate access to victims to justice are limited because of the insufficient numbers of well-trained lawyers or paralegals ready to be deployed to conflict zones where victims are found. Those that engage in these time of assistance are faced with difficulties related to the limits of the judicial system and the fear of stigmatization that comes to the victims when they denounce their aggressors; • The bitterness of the fact that many cases are resolved outside of the court system, many interveners focus on their actions and the formal justice level in place letting customary judges, traditional leaders and communities share the responsibilities in giving assistance to victims; • The absence of a mechanisms of compensation for victims who are already economically vulnerable and who don’t have the motives or the steps to move forward; • No legal assistance is offered to the presumed perpetrators and in the majority of cases they are presumed guilty. There are not conditions for an equal trial for these horrible abuses.

E. Community Rebuilding and Socio-Economic Reintegration • Gender Based Sexual Violence is considered to weaken the individuals and punctures the weak resources. It leaves women the most vulnerable, physically and psychologically so that they become further separated from their activities that support the family and they miss out on economic opportunities because of their weak status. Paradoxically the socio-economic problems are lasting for women and girls during the period of reconstruction; • The punctual efforts and the “packets of rehabilitation” are provided but have brought little change to the condition of women and do not provide sustainable activities nor do they help improve the conditions of their lives; • Furthermore the efforts related to reintegration of at risk groups (militant armies, former combatants, sexual slaves, children born of rape, women and girls that have lived with armed groups, former child soldiers, unemployed, or internally displaced) are limited or nonexistent. For several aggressors that are identified and/or have been condemned, no program for rehabilitation has been put in place; • So many of the condemned do not stay in prison for that long because the prison conditions are deplorable and they would rather evade the system.

F. Follow-up and evaluation • The majority of interventions are not supported by adequate follow-up our evaluation. In the absence of a national or provincial action plan related to Gender Based Sexual Violence, the follow-up evaluation is not permitted to measure the impact or the efficiency of the interventions; • The absence of data and reliable base compromises the changes to ask again for follow-up and evaluation of a solid base.

G. Coordination • Despite the efforts of the government and the Ministry for Gender, Family and Children to insure the efforts of leadership for the thematic group on sexual violence the efforts undertaken by the partners remain scattered and there is no correspondence with the national priorities because there is no precise frame of reference put in place. Furthermore the multiple mechanisms of coordination of intervention and actions remain a problem to which the ministry of Gender, Family and Children wishes to remedy. Also, despite various mechanisms established at the provincial and local level to serve as coordination between the public administrations, NGOs, and international partners, the majority of them are not equipped to provide effective coordination. • Additionally the groups charged with humanitarian protection and assistance did not consider their actions as urgent. Otherwise even the local institutions that intervene in the fight against sexual violence benefit from the majority of trainings that reinforce their capabilities. They are not however supported and remain incapable to intervene in an effective fashion on the ground.

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Bien écrit ma chère ce journal contien des informations vraies et qui demande la contribution de tous sur tout le plan et à chaque niveau, dans tout le domaine, pour avoir un bon climat de sécurité humaine dans toute la république pourquoi pas le monde? et donc courage et a bientôt en ligne

arianemoza

State of Gender Based Violence in the DRC

  1. Review/Statement

Gender based violence remains a recurring problem in the DRC. The investigation in urban areas and semi urban areas undertaken in 1999 by Professor Gambembo indicates that women suffer diverse forms of violence including physical, moral, psychological and economical. The study shows that 53% of women youth and young girls are subject to abuse by their male partners because of their sex. 39% are victims of attacks and injuries and 27% are victims of harmful customary practices. Despite the fact that gender based violence is a new area of research in the DRC the existing statistics are already very alarming. In effect, already for the majority of the country more than 6,000 cases of sexual violence have been registered since the beginning of 2009. Following armed conflicts around 99.2% of the victims are women and therefore only 0.8% are men. Additionally the state of gender-based violence in the DRC indicates the persistence of many types of violence that are:

Violence associated with armed conflict (rape, sexual slavery, early pregnancy, unwanted pregnancy, destruction of genital organs, widespread HIV and AIDS, massive displacement, wandering, family dislocation and marginalization, post-traumatic stress disorder, aggravation of women’s poverty, and mass-killings).

Sexual violence occurs in zones outside of conflict: rape, which happens to miners and to very young children in mining zones and in school areas. Incest, sexual harassment, forced prostitution, juvenile prostitution, sexual mutilation, etc.

Socio-economic and cultural violence: related to the persistence of socially retrograde practices and sexism that lead to the degradation of life’s conditions. (Mistreatment of widows, dispossession of orphans, early marriage, incestuous marriage, sexual and physically mutilation, beliefs in sorcery, infantilization of women, prostitution, both youth and forced, etc.);

Domestic violence related to the mistreatment and under value of women’s contribution to the housework and to the family (beaten women, fatigued housewives, dependence and demand of submissive women, discrimination between girls and boys in the family…); Cited violence is highest in institutional inequalities related to discriminatory dispositions throughout certain legal texts, civil code, and the family code; In effect, in the legal domain, despite the fact that the constitution of our country voted for the referendum and the international judicial instruments ratified by the DRC recognize the equality of rights between men and women it is still clear that to this day there exists dispositions and discriminatory practices towards women. This is true in all areas particularly the Family Code, the Work Code, the statute of personal career to public services for the state, and Code of Commerce. The progress of the Work Code dating to 2002 with the elimination of intentional opposition of spouses under the contract of work for married women.

Compared to customs there is a place to recognize that the Congolese society is characterized by a rich, diverse culture, realized by the coexistence of many different ethnic groups living together on the same territory. These ethnic groups essentially share the same cultural values based in customs and traditions. However despite the diversity of their beliefs and practices, the majority of these ethnic groups have a common perception of the differentiation between male and female roles and family relationships between women and men. This inequality is constructed from the fundamental inequality between man; the father, spouse, and head of the family and the woman; mother and spouse manager of the home. Traditionally it is man who personifies the authority in the household; he makes the rules and the code of conduct and assures the control and the movement of goods for the family. The woman meanwhile is reduced to the social happenings, the household chores and taking care of the children and other members of the family. The authoritative role of the man and the position of subordination of the woman translate into different social institutions.

In marriage for example, the man possesses the privilege of the active role and the ability to exercise control over the fertility of the couple. In the family and community educational processes the men and the boys benefit from special treatment with a permissiveness and responsibility contrary to women who are limited and controlled in their movements and their initiatives. At the social activity level, the sexist division of work determines the distribution of tasks between girls and boys and men and women. Inscribed in the frame of production activities and reproduction at the community level this differentiation allows men to be assigned to formal and valorized productive work while for women, the activities are to maintain and care which are activities that are not registered as valorized activities of reproduction. Additionally, the wars are augmented by the vulnerability of women faced with STIs, HIV and AIDS. Face with the infection of HIV and AIDS women are more vulnerable then men because of rape committed by the aggressors, the multiplicity of sexual partners, the retrograde traditions that favor sexual relations and low use of contraceptives.

In relation to violence linked to armed conflict, women and children constitute the civilian population the most affected by the consequences of war. They represent 75% of refugees and displaced persons of war following armed conflicts. These conflicts are caused by immeasurable damages and considerable often-irreparable damages to the ecosystem. The conflicts occasionally lead to the existence of child soldiers (girls and boys), an increased number of women and children among the internally displaced and those displaced by war, the increase in the number of widows, orphans, and unaccompanied children. As consequences these conflicts still have massive rapes, which women and young girls are the largest victims and have also contributed to the increase of highly elevated rates of HIV/AIDS. In this perspective the identification and the promotion of peace and in compliance with security of the 1325 UN resolution is undeniable.

  1. Causes Gender based violence is marked in the DRC as it is often related for the most part to customs, traditions, and habits in social practices in domestic life, low education rates and the ignorance of women’s rights as well as armed conflicts. The majority of sexual violence is caused by rapes, mutilations and sexual slavery as well as forced pregnancy that are used as weapons of war and principally associated with conflicts and with men in uniform. These imposed practices committed by armed groups and rebels have come to add deeper socio-economic inequalities created by decades of pauperization and violence suffered by both men and women.

Gender based violence is also strained by the weak status of the girl and the woman who is not permitted to claim her rights. More precisely, the large security and humanitarian crisis throughout the DRC for 15 years, which has made women and children the principal victims, has reinforced dramatically the already precarious situation of women in terms of the protection of her rights, luck and sexuality. The proliferation of sexual violence within civil society constitutes one of the consequences of conflict. Indeed the communities the most affected are those that are exposed to many different forms of conflict (murders, use of rape as a weapon of war, resulting changes in the behavior of men and boys associated with atrocities and the repetitive cycles of vengeance that arise from these crimes…). The other causes that are related to armed conflict are notably the regulations that arise for diverse reasons. Such that concerns other forms of gender based violence, the lack of information on women’s rights as an obstacle to take consciousness and their capacity to predict and to take all action necessary to raise the awareness of violence suffered daily. The ignorance coupled with socio-cultural taboos explains the persistence of these forms of violence.

The instability of life conditions and housing conditions given to girls and women particularly exposes them to risks of violence. In the housing sector, for example, according to MICS2 the over crowdedness is strong because 73.3% of the houses with two bedrooms are lived in by one family with 6 to 7 children on average. In addition, 15.7% of women head of households live with a parent in contrast to 8.9% of men. 69.3% of women head of households are owners compared to that of 75.4% of men. In the field of electricity only 5% of women have access to it in contrast to 13% of men. Women, youth, and young girls travel long distances to get water and wood for heating and/or for the markets and traverse isolated and insecure spaces. In urban centers women and girls stay up late to sell the products on the side of the road to help the family and often the spaces are insufficiently lighted.

  1. Consequences The impact of gender-based violence on Congolese society is huge. Children outside of zones of conflict become more and more the privileged targets of rape and the cases of incest become worrying. Other forms of sexual violence also appear. Beyond the harmful consequences on women, sexual violence has become a threat to human security. Families and entire communities are dehumanized and destroyed by various traumas that they are subjected to (dislocation of families, exclusion and rejection of victims, children born out of rape, pauperization of communities, a climate of fear and vengeance and the desertion of land, etc.) And therefore the lack of adequate management by one another in this brutal situation of violence based on gender produces the following consequences: deportation of women and girls into sexual slavery, early marriage and the proliferation of unwanted children, massive contamination and the use of HIV and AIDS as a weapon of war, emerging phenomena of child soldiers, loss of schooling and increase in illiteracy and unfortunately the installation of impunity, the lack of compensation of victims and the lack of reparation for damages caused.

The challenges to pick up

The major challenge for the national strategy in the fight against gender based violence is the coordination of prevention, protection and the response for victims and survivors and the management of information and data as well as the synergy of support between public and private institutions and other partners in relation to violence against women, youth and young girls in the DRC.

  1. At the level of prevention and protection given that sexual violence has occurred in the DRC for the past 15 years, the form of violence against, women, youth and young girls is the most obvious in armed conflicts throughout the country. It is necessary to be conscious of the consequences that follow the pacification and securitization of the DRC as well as the strengthening of the stability and a sustainable peace in the Great Lakes Region. The main challenge of this National Strategy in the fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) is the sufficient implementation of these organized actions and coordinated protection in responses to GBV. Under the plan of protection and prevention, one of the major challenges is that this strategy proves to also need the engagement of effective state actors as well as community leaders in the mechanisms of protection. The management and the resolution of conflicts together with the strengthening of stability and a sustainable peace must include the participation of men and women on equal footing with their efforts focused on maintaining and promoting peace and security. Whether these men are heads of family, youth, or leaders they must be fully supportive of the fight against all forms of violence against girls and women and they must participate in all the efforts of awareness and the denunciation of these degrading acts for themselves and for the victims.

Another challenge related to the prevention and protection is related to the approaches of interventions. Indeed the effect of community intervention rather than on the individual victims can raise the entire community to take action against the potential aggressors while smoothing the latent tensions. Another challenge related to the prevention and protection of the fight against gender based violence lies with the application of legal depositions put into law and the finalization of security sector reforms and the integration of gender into politics, programs, and projects of development in conjunction with the recommendations from the Beijing Platform.

  1. At the level of response to victims and survivors of gender based violence the major challenge is certainly taking gender into account in the implementation of the National Strategy Document for Growth and Poverty Reduction (DSCRP) “New Generation” as an added value for the achievement of its objectives and the creation of wealth and economic growth in view of sustainable development to attain these development objectives as is written in the DSCRP by 2015 in connection with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The DRC must have a rate of growth in double digits by then. It is not possible to achieve these goals if part of the most important contribution of its human resources and their active populations, its women, are diminished by violence.

In this same vein, the other important challenge is the integration of a rights based approach on the necessary equality and social justice in the elaboration of the implementation of economic operational tools in compliance with the recommendations from Beijing (budget, laws, codes, and reviews). To promote and protect the economic rights of women with the increase of the feminization of poverty in the DRC, which is the main path of exploitation and violence of all forms towards women, youth, and young girls. This poverty is exacerbated by the patriarchal socio-economic structure, which is the base of social relations and unequal power sharing between sexes. The power of economic reinforcement of women by giving them access and control of resources remains a challenge no less important. It is necessary to respond to victims and survivors because the reduction of poverty is necessarily a consequence of the wealth which itself falls undoubtedly into ameliorating the work force and creating an active population of women laborers. It is necessary to see that men are present in all the different sectors of production and marketing. The limitations met in taking into account the needs of family assistance for survivors and the question of who takes charge puts the point of view of the psycho-social concept of need and the rehabilitation and reintegration which remains still without a doubt one of the challenges to overcome.

  1. At the level of management of information and data, if we allow the fact that the social and cultural context of the DRC remains globally unfavorable towards the authorization of women, one of the major challenges in relation to this management of information and data is related to the fight against Gender Based Violence. It is important that the adoption and the implementation of the law of parity between men and momen which promote the objective criteria for equal rights and chances for all gender within the family, for schooling, employment, and at all levels of the national life and particularly the revitalization of the youth, gives precise indicators and targets homes for the evaluation of the situation of violence against women, youth and young girls.

Another challenge also in the area of information and data management in relation to the fight against Gender Based Violence is the establishment of the lived experiences of women who are victims of sexual violence. A law against sexual violence was adopted in July 2006 by the parliament with limitations including only the identification of sexual violence as a consequence of armed conflict. In fact it should be categorized much larger and presented as a law implemented as a National Strategy in the fight against all forms of Gender Based Violence. This effective management of information and data along with all the contributions related to violence against women, youth, and young girls remains certainly a challenge to overcome. It is evident that the national and international opinion is to support the diversity of opinions and to acknowledge the insufficient and disproportion of evaluations of needs on the ground in understanding this complex problem.

The current national strategy should be therefore to give place to the implementation of a central national mechanism to allow for a better distribution of activities and actions as well as the roles and responsibilities of material given in the fight against all forms of violence against women, youth, and young girls. The lack of pertinent data is likely to affect the impact of the interventions and the lack of data of different forms of violence throughout the country limits the actions of the program. The fact that the objectives of the current National Strategy in the fight against Gender Based Violence must adapt and made more effective in relation to the indicators implemented by the National Gender Policy remains equally a challenge necessary to overcome at this level.

At the level of the institutions of the country they must not simply organize with the interest to fight the recurrent problem of Gender Based Violence but rather bring a commitmenta and concerns on concrete measures to be incorporated into the process of reforms for the country, particularly in Justice, the Army and the Police and other forces of security. The institutional challenge to pick up the slack is not guaranteed by the passion of the government’s policies or by the reinforcement of the social and political impact. The strengthening of the pacification together with the national territory and the consolidation of peace, particularly in the east of the DRC remains a challenge to be taken up by the institutions of our country. The armed conflicts and other situations of insecurity in the DRC as well as the displacement of populations and other social catastrophes aggravate each day the state of violence committed against women, youth, and young girls.

The current strategy will give an effective and concrete response to these deplorable situations and keep good faith surrounding peace, security, development and democracy in our country. Another challenge no less important is at the level of reinforcement and the action of the government against impunity and violations of rights of humans in our county. In effect, the preoccupation with Gender Based Violence seems to be a part of the blatant general climate in the country of impunity and violation of human rights. The current national strategy will therefore in a sense, respond to fundamental problems like the protection of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of the vulnerable population, in particular the women, youth and young girls. However this realization of all these challenges to deal with remain to be linked to the precise identification of certain constraints related to interventions in the fight against Sexual and Gender Based Violence:

A. Prevention and Institutional support: • Weakness of institutions tasked with implementing the law; • Insecurity and stabilization of zones after conflict; • The feeling of insecurity accentuated for girls and women that does not dare denounce the perpetrators for fear of family and social stigma, the lack of reporting on these cases, the invisibility of the size of the problem, impunity and the weak responsibility of state actors and community leaders; • The insufficient pertinent data followed by sensitive evaluations to improve the impact of interventions; • The inclusion of insufficient assistance and the question of support when charging perpetrators; • Level of instruction is very limited for girls and women and there is no respect for women’s rights; • The impact of conflict on the behavior of men and women as well as their relationship to the outbreak of a culture of violence; • The lack of inclusion of a gender dimension in the fight against Gender Based Violence and the absence of provincial and sector-specific action plans to elaborate on the frame of intervention for all the actors involved; • The lack of integration of gender in these processes of judicial reform and in the security sector: officers charged with the restoration of the Rights of the State do not always understand the link between the protection of women and young girls and the incidence of sexual violence. They are little equipped to put into action the law of 2006 on sexual violence and tend to believe it is a matter for local NGOs; • The limited resources allowed for human rights education of education for women and awareness given legal resistance to the implementation of these laws

B. Medical Assistance • A lot of health centers do not cover medical assistance for victims of rape. The majority of these centers are not equipped, supplied essential medicines and cannot therefore offer adequate assistance to the victims. This leads to the prioitization of new cases while the “old” cases are neglected; • The medical infrastructures are dilapidated and far away. The PEP kits are insufficent, the rupture of stocks is frequent. In these conditions victims directly received and children that are victims of rape are not often taken; in certain places women resist the PEP kit, even when they are available.; • The lack of systematic integration and dissemnation in all structures of care, especially related to Gender Based Sexual Violence which holds a certain stigma for people, particularly in the centers where they are identified; • The difficulty of support for presumed perpetrators (denounced or not) but equally exposed to the risk of STIs or HIV infection; • The difficulty of access to men and women at methods of protection against STIs and AIDS (male and female condoms); • The weak link between the medical sector and the support for ARV;

C. Psycho-Social Assistance • The limited ability of counseling centers; punctual assistance given to victims of rape without adequate follow-up; • Insufficient psycho-social assistance oriented towards families and communities affected • Insufficient psychosocial assistance towards presumed perpetrators to eliminate the problem and to identify those who suffer from trauma and who present with signs of mental perturbation. This type of assistance will be particularly necessary for those that live in conflict or post-conflict zones; • The lack of infrastructures (refuges or places of transit) for the victims who were abused by family members and exiled from their families and the absence of complete care because of the lack of resources; • The lack of assistance for children born out of rape and the following rejection by their families leading to the increasing number of children reliant on the state. The psychological support given to families and victims also lacks resources; • The absence of support and awareness for families and communities given the marginalization and exclusion of survivors, which only leads to more traumas.

D. Judicial and Legal Assistance • Further dysfunction of good documents in the judicial system, the efforts to facilitate access to victims to justice are limited because of the insufficient numbers of well-trained lawyers or paralegals ready to be deployed to conflict zones where victims are found. Those that engage in these time of assistance are faced with difficulties related to the limits of the judicial system and the fear of stigmatization that comes to the victims when they denounce their aggressors; • The bitterness of the fact that many cases are resolved outside of the court system, many interveners focus on their actions and the formal justice level in place letting customary judges, traditional leaders and communities share the responsibilities in giving assistance to victims; • The absence of a mechanisms of compensation for victims who are already economically vulnerable and who don’t have the motives or the steps to move forward; • No legal assistance is offered to the presumed perpetrators and in the majority of cases they are presumed guilty. There are not conditions for an equal trial for these horrible abuses.

E. Community Rebuilding and Socio-Economic Reintegration • Gender Based Sexual Violence is considered to weaken the individuals and punctures the weak resources. It leaves women the most vulnerable, physically and psychologically so that they become further separated from their activities that support the family and they miss out on economic opportunities because of their weak status. Paradoxically the socio-economic problems are lasting for women and girls during the period of reconstruction; • The punctual efforts and the “packets of rehabilitation” are provided but have brought little change to the condition of women and do not provide sustainable activities nor do they help improve the conditions of their lives; • Furthermore the efforts related to reintegration of at risk groups (militant armies, former combatants, sexual slaves, children born of rape, women and girls that have lived with armed groups, former child soldiers, unemployed, or internally displaced) are limited or nonexistent. For several aggressors that are identified and/or have been condemned, no program for rehabilitation has been put in place; • So many of the condemned do not stay in prison for that long because the prison conditions are deplorable and they would rather evade the system.

F. Follow-up and evaluation • The majority of interventions are not supported by adequate follow-up our evaluation. In the absence of a national or provincial action plan related to Gender Based Sexual Violence, the follow-up evaluation is not permitted to measure the impact or the efficiency of the interventions; • The absence of data and reliable base compromises the changes to ask again for follow-up and evaluation of a solid base.

G. Coordination • Despite the efforts of the government and the Ministry for Gender, Family and Children to insure the efforts of leadership for the thematic group on sexual violence the efforts undertaken by the partners remain scattered and there is no correspondence with the national priorities because there is no precise frame of reference put in place. Furthermore the multiple mechanisms of coordination of intervention and actions remain a problem to which the ministry of Gender, Family and Children wishes to remedy. Also, despite various mechanisms established at the provincial and local level to serve as coordination between the public administrations, NGOs, and international partners, the majority of them are not equipped to provide effective coordination. • Additionally the groups charged with humanitarian protection and assistance did not consider their actions as urgent. Otherwise even the local institutions that intervene in the fight against sexual violence benefit from the majority of trainings that reinforce their capabilities. They are not however supported and remain incapable to intervene in an effective fashion on the ground.

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