Rise with us!

Kirthi Jayakumar
Posted March 12, 2014 from India

When you hear of phrases like “the most dangerous place on earth”, or “the worst place on earth to be a woman”, or even “the rape capital of the world”, your mind invariably settles on the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Without a question, the rates and brutality of the sexual violence in the DRC are virtually unparalleled. But here’s what phrases like the above do to actual Congolese women - it victimises them, and presents an image of a place where there is no hope of climbing out of this ascribed state of victimhood, or of even of creating an identity outside the realm of victimhood.

And that’s unfair, to say the very least: because no matter what, Congolese women have every right to become much more than just a victim, and enjoy their place in society – a place that is rightfully theirs. This is a vision that is shared by Dr. Denis Mukwege and Panzi Foundation DRC, as they work together with their global community of partners to enable the Congolese woman to enjoy her right to be an actor, a mover, a shaker, and the fulcrum of change, justice and peace that she inherently is.

Panzi Foundation’s action for this year’s One Billion Rising for Justice movement, was to reject this word "victim" and focus instead on the amazing strength and potential within each and every single Congolese woman. It as a remarkable attempt to use the art of photography to change the narrative on the Congolese woman, from victim, to victory. Check out the photo-series on Tumblr for exclusive images from Panzi Hospital.:


Also have a look at their Cause page, where all funds raised will go to support Panzi with core-funding so they can continue to treat, restore and empower women from the Eastern Congo region.

Comments 4

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Cali gal Michelle
Mar 14, 2014
Mar 14, 2014

Kirthi- It is refreshing to see a glimmer of light and a positive message. The Panzi Foundation's replacing the word 'victim' with strength resonates strongly. These women are strong to have survived horror and violence and, indeed, have much to teach us about resilience and victory.

Thank you, Kirthi, for sharing this with us!

Mar 19, 2014
Mar 19, 2014

It is always a delight to read your thoughts. I share the opinion that it is about time women refuse to be represented by adjectives which portray the female gender as victims in all circumstances. The being adopted and propagated by the Panzi Foundation is worth celebrating.

You remain an inspiration.

Much love, Greengirl

Julie Collura
May 21, 2014
May 21, 2014

Kirthi, I just saw this post on the DRC hub page. Please continue to share and update us on the work of the Panzi Foundation. The women of the DRC are definitely NOT victims, but survivors. Love and strength, Julie

Donna Bride
Jul 12, 2014
Jul 12, 2014

You are courageous, honest and deserve the best life as do the other women there. So much violence, anger and disrespect there so how do we find a Hero to resolve this there. But, it's complicated and there are other countries around you that are vigilante. How do we encourage moral fiber? This is true in other regions of the world of course.