English translation by community member LightMyWay.
Hello, my dear friends from World Pulse, I have been called to raise my voice and make my personal contribution to the call to action!!!!
Personally, my participation in putting an end to continuing inequalities between men and women today is this: If inequalities are persisting, it’s because of us women, because we are taking no steps forward to cross these boundaries that have for so long separated us from men. We’re like the old adage, which says that if a hen has been tied up to something for a long time, even once she’s untied, she forgets that she has been set free and can’t put a single foot forward for fear of being struck with a stick.
To overcome these obstacles through the full participation of women in my community, I’ve already taken the step of gathering a few women from my community and creating a women’s organization, called ASPIVG for short, which stands for Action for Social Promotion and Integration of Vulnerable Generations.
Regarding the status of women and girls and/or gender equality: Based on the statistics from my community, there are more men than women, and it’s the men who hold the main positions in all things. Then they’re even more invested with an egoistic and dictatorial mindset. Meanwhile, women, always expected to be submissive to men, stand idly by without knowing it or wanting it. Thus females have always remained inferior in all things.
Based on what I’ve just mentioned, the three areas that we’re trying to tackle have been negatively impacted by what we experience daily in our communities.
1. In the Education sector: the number of girls who finish primary and/or secondary school is much lower than the number of boys, because parents influence the girls not to continue their learning, saying that girls need only to learn how to cook. If fathers decide not to pay the school fees for their daughters, the daughters stay at home to watch the other children, and to work in the fields with their mothers.
2. In the Health sector: the maternal and infant mortality rates have risen as men have not rallied to take care of their wives. Suppose a man who is polygamous doesn’t really know how to care for his wife and/or get her follow-up care. Due to this, numerous women are dying during pregnancy or childbirth. Some women die during pregnancy or childbirth because they carry their pregnancies to term at home, as they have no financial means to check in to health facilities.
3. In the Gender-Based Violence sector: 1/3 of rape cases, whether physical or sexual abuse, are committed by husbands or partners. These cases persist and remain a global epidemic because there is no legal protection for the (surviving) victims.
There is no justice for the victims as vulnerable women, especially as in our communities, these vulnerable women have no recourse to justice. The organizations that have mobilized in the fight against gender-based violence are all on the verge of failure, because they waste all their energy identifying cases, trying to follow up on cases, attending cases, referring to other homes; but at the end of the day, they know they are doing unsuccessful work.
We have so many identified, referred, followed cases that have known one or all of these three questions. My vision to resolve these problems is this:
WE HAVE HIGHLIGHTED SOME MAJOR PROBLEMS THAT WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED TO WHICH WE HAVE ENVISIONED THIS SET OF SOLUTIONS:
Presence of uncontrolled armed groups and antinational civilians in certain areas
Rural exodus, no schooling for girls, poverty rates on the rise
Lack of appropriate support in these areas
Impunity of civil and military perpetrators of rape who walk free while their victims watch
Lack of access to adequate primary care
Stigmatization of victims in all aspects of their lives
Lack of access to materials on maternal and infant health
Ignorance of subjects of STIs and HIV/AIDS
Complete ignorance of subjects of women’s rights, rights violations and ways to seek justice
No charges brought against alleged perpetrators of rape
That peace be reinstituted everywhere in the DRCongo; that tranquility be returned to so all parts of the country to be made accessible; that the system of displacing people in their own country, in their own villages, be put to an end. That health clinics and centers be well equipped and provided with ambulances to save lives of people in critical condition in emergencies. That victims be guaranteed not to face stigmatization and to have their confidentiality maintained through awareness programs involving each and every person: local leaders, young people, and the rest of the community. That human rights development NGOs take care of the plaintiffs and guarantee their safety. That the collaboration between development NGOs, medical centers, local leaders, and community members be honest. In a word: that the participants be truly engaged in their battle, that there be harmony.
STORIES AND TESTIMONIES OF THE VICTIMS
These testimonies were collected from among my organization.
“My name is ----, I’m 15 years old. I was born into a polygamous family. My mom only gave birth to girls, and he hated her for this. He would never have the daughters educated because he has no interest in girl children. He remarried so he could have boy children from his second wife. Me and my 4 older sisters never had the chance to go to school. We worked in the fields with our mother to gather food, because Dad didn’t give us anything to eat. Finally, Dad no longer lives with Mom.The Path to Participation Initiative from World Pulse and No Ceilings