Research on sustainable mechanisms for the prevention and protection of sexual and gender-based violence in South Kivu, eastern DR Congo

Véronique BULAYA
Posted March 17, 2019 from Democratic Republic of the Congo

Project summary

The research project on the identification and ownership of sustainable mechanisms for prevention and protection against sexual and gender-based violence: "Participatory analyzes and strategic action perspectives for future generations in South Kivu, in the east of the DR Congo is to seek the prevention and protection strategies initiated or to initiate against this phenomenon in South Kivu, given that the Congolese State presently has gaps on the ground.The strategies identified will allow us to know how to change harmful social norms and build the capacity of traditional leaders, local leaders and associations to be more involved in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence in South Kivu province in the east of DR Congo.

 

Background and justification of the project

Rape is the most widely known, most reported or identified form of sexual violence and the most documented by the international community. This practice has been exacerbated by the armed conflicts that have marked the history of the DRC. Unlike the rapes that have hit the headlines, other forms of sexual and gender-based violence have had little interest in researchers and structures involved in the problem. To look only at the status of women, particularly with respect to their participation in decision-making in a household, women are not at all entitled to the chapter when it comes to major decisions in the home as well as at home. within the community. Similarly, lacking the right to property and inheritance, public speech deprivation is a common practice in rural areas, and men have disregarded any idea put forward by women. This culture, which conveys the idea of ​​male superiority and female inferiority, is at the root of acts of violence based on sex and gender.

Focusing on the phenomenon of sexual violence among civilians requires an understanding of how gender relations are currently hindered by initiatives to help women at the expense of men. The limited progress in preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based violence raises crucial questions about the effectiveness and sustainability of the approach the international community has taken in recent years.

The sexual violence committed during these conflicts has been amply documented. Although the use of rape has been described as a real war strategy, sexual and gender-based violence is perpetrated today by both the military and the civilian population because of the climate of impunity that surrounds the perpetrators. and the silence that characterizes some victims. Rape and other gender-based violence are now part of the sad reality of women and men in eastern Congo. Available data on the extent of sexual violence confirm that the eastern part of the country is the most affected by this phenomenon. This violence includes acts that inflict physical, mental and sexual suffering, threats to that suffering, coercion, and deprivation of liberty.

In order to combat this violence, the DRC adopted in July 2006 two pieces of legislation on sexual violence (Law No. 06/018 of 20 July 2006 amending and supplementing the Decree of 30 January 1940 on the Congolese Criminal Code and Law No. 06 / 019 of 20 July 2006 amending and supplementing the Decree of 6 August 1959 on the Congolese Code of Criminal Procedure) .4 In addition, the Government adopted in November 2009, the National Strategy to Combat Gender-Based Violence. Despite these efforts, sexual violence remains widespread. The various actors on the ground continue to identify many victims of sexual violence committed by the Armed Forces (FARDC), members of the Congolese National Police (PNC), members of various armed groups and civilians.

Notwithstanding the adoption of the laws of 2006, it is clear that very few perpetrators of sexual violence are currently the subject of legal proceedings. This situation can be explained in particular by the very limited access of victims to justice due in particular to the geographical distance separating their home from the nearest jurisdiction, to the lack of effective legal assistance, to the often high costs of legal costs, certain weaknesses in the national judicial system, including non-compliance with the procedure, failure to meet deadlines, systematic application of transactional fines, etc. As for the victims, they often show a certain disinterestedness because almost all of them have never been able to receive, as compensation for the damages suffered, their right to compensation fixed by judicial decisions. .

In addition to the unfavorable situation for women in general, the socio-economic consequences for victims of sexual violence are significant. 1 in 3 women victims of sexual violence is divorced by her husband, and 1 in 15 is no longer accepted by the community. The stigma of being a victim of sexual violence is often perceived as serious as the act itself and the victims are often in a situation of social isolation. Some groups of women are particularly vulnerable, such as women with children born of rape, those who are victims of gang rape, those with fistula, the consequences of rape, and those who are HIV-positive. Abandoned women, but especially those rejected by their community, have serious difficulties

Problematic and hypotheses

Sexual and gender-based violence is increasing in South Kivu, while local and international organizations are working in rural areas. The perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence challenge the public authorities and its various partners. The prevention and protection strategies initiated against this phenomenon by the Congolese State present gaps as soon as they are implemented on the ground. How to change harmful social norms and build the capacity of traditional leaders, community leaders and associations to be more involved in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence? As part of this research, the main hypothesis will focus on the alteration of traditional authority by various actors and the displacement of its legitimacy.

The alteration of customary power is the loss of influence over their subjects and other local leaders working in entities run by customary chiefs and notables. The loss of authority by customary chiefs and their collaborators comes in many forms, through the reforms of legal texts that have contributed to their disqualification since colonization.

In addition, there is a lack of knowledge of the responsibilities of customary chiefs and notables in preventing and protecting against sexual and gender-based violence in the state space. Also, they are discredited by leaders of local, international and humanitarian associations, while they resort to them to gain access to the rural population, to obtain land for community fields and to work freely in the territories managed by the chiefs. customary and notables. Finally, they are limited in knowledge of the laws on the prevention, protection and repression of the phenomenon of sexual and gender-based violence in South Kivu, and do not have the financial and logistical means to exercise their traditional social responsibility.

The perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence escape the influence of custom. Recourse to the latter is handicapped by the conception that the custom is outdated and anachronistic with the modernization of the law and the management of the modern state. Local power no longer exists.

Most traditional chiefs have fled their chiefdoms and sectors, and live in cities due to insecurity

abandoning their population. For this plausible reason, they add that their power has been confiscated by the state, and is disputed between the INGOs and the new elites who are currently dealing with and dealing with sexual violence. These local elites would avoid collaborating with traditional chiefs and would not direct the perpetrators of violence toward them. From this main hypothesis, which has just been explained, follow two secondary hypotheses, namely:

The hypothesis relating to the coordination of the interventions of the national and international organizations and the humanitarian actions which work in most cases in a logic of competition that of complementarity. Most Congolese state partners are working in isolation and addressing the effects rather than the real causes of sexual and gender-based violence in South Kivu. The

multi-stakeholder network would be poorly operational in the field as a result of differing perceptions of how to intervene, the effectiveness of actors at the grassroots level and the issues surrounding prevention and protection from sexual violence and based on kind.

Finally, it is the secondary hypothesis relating to the notion of prevention and protection against sexual violence. This notion is not understood in the same way. It is gaining ground little by little but the obstacles are on the side of lack of collaboration with the customary chiefs and the notables, the weakness of the Congolese State, which moreover, does not ensure the application of the legal arsenal on the protection of civilian populations. The structures for prevention and protection against sexual and gender-based violence are plural in South Kivu, but there are unmet needs in several groups. In short, the stakeholders and the interventions would not cover all the entities at the base. Building dynamic synergies from clusters to chieftaincies or sectors would be an effective and profitable strategy. In the context of the crisis of the Congolese State, the involvement of traditional leaders and notables is the main issue, even a question of substance. This implication would make a stain of oil, produce effects in a snowball, that is to say in chain.

Objectives:

1) Collect perceptions and knowledge about prevention and protection on the phenomenon of sexual and gender-based violence in South Kivu;

2) Analyze the collected information, through the organization of participatory analysis sessions to understand:

- Prevention and protection mechanisms against sexual and gender-based violence; - Customary Laws and the Role of Traditional Leaders in Community Outreach against Sexual and Gender Based Violence in South Kivu;

3) Educate the community about positive values ​​and customary practices that will help women access decision-making bodies

4) Strengthen the capacities of traditional chiefs and other actors involved in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence in South Kivu by exploiting Law No. 06/018 of 20 July 2006 on sexual violence and Law no. 09/001 of January 10, 2009 on the protection of children in DR Congo.

5) Produce a report on the above aspects with a view to enabling national and humanitarian actors to advocate with the relevant authorities for the prevention and protection against sexual and gender-based violence;

Expected results

This research aims to achieve the following results:

The causes, threats and consequences of sexual and gender-based violence will be identified and known;

Categories at risk of sexual violence will also be known;

Prevention and protection mechanisms against sexual and gender-based violence will be analyzed and known for the harmonization of action strategies;

Customary laws, tales, proverbs, fables, riddles, speeches, expressions and words will finally be identified for better knowledge and consideration in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence.

Communities are sensitized on positive values ​​and customary practices that will help women access decision-making bodies in South Kivu,

Traditional leaders and other actors involved in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence in South Kivu are strengthened in capacities on the law n ° 06/018 of July 20, 2006 on the sexual violence and the law n ° 09 / 001 of January 10th, 2009 relating to the protection of the child in DR Congo.

Research Methodology

To collect the data that will be the subject of this project, PIFEVA plans to organize field trips in search of information on the phenomenon of sexual and gender-based violence in South Kivu. Once in the field, PIFEVA will organize on each axis participatory analysis sessions for the identification and appropriation of sustainable mechanisms of prevention and protection against sexual and gender-based violence in South Kivu. When carrying out these activities, the approach that will be followed will be anthropological, sociological and semiological. Stakeholders will identify the cultural elements and expressions (words) that convey the forms of sexual violence or the ways to commit or prevent it. At this stage, stakeholders will also be interested in customary laws; They will identify some fairy tales, fables, proverbs or riddles of the environment to make sense of them. Through this analysis, it will be possible to identify through the discourse and the local practices, the perceptions on the phenomenon of sexual and sexist violence in South Kivu.

Profile of the organization

PIFEVA (Pillar of Vulnerable Women Actives in DRCongo) is a Congolese NGO created in 2004 and legally registered (certificate n ° JUST.112 / SKV / 3081/2010 of the division of justice and guard of the seals of South Kivu) and specialized in the promotion of gender and women's leadership, the prevention and protection against sexual and gender-based violence as well as in the area of ​​research and support of local communities in a perspective of the fight against poverty and injustice in the South Kivu east of the DR Congo. Indeed, thanks to the projects carried out in the past years in the field of the prevention and protection against sexual and gender-based violence in partnership with the international organizations ICCO-COOPERATION, Cordaid, DAI-EUROPE / Financing DFID, PIFEVA has the capacities and good experience in research, data collection, participatory and in-depth analysis of sexual and gender-based violence in South Kivu.

Veronique BULAYA

Project Director    

Comments 4

Log in or register to post comments
jlanghus
Mar 17
Mar 17

Hello Veronique,

Thanks so much for sharing your very thorough report, analysis and proposed action plan for the prevention and protection against sexual and GBV. You've really looked into this pervasive problem and I'm very impressed with your plans to mitigate these challenges. When do you plan to start your field studies? I'm looking forward to hearing about how your research goes, and when you'll be able to start implementing some of your strategies and plans. I'm glad to hear, though, that you have had, and do have, sufficient funding to start tackling these big challenges.

I would recommend that you submit this story for the current call for stories, "Change starts with a story," as what you have written is well written, very compelling, pervasive and impressive. If so, this is the submission link: https://www.worldpulse.com/en/voices-rising/story-awards/89833

otahelp
Mar 17
Mar 17

Veronique you are really a very thorough person. it shows in your work. you are really doing a very good work with this research work. it will form basis for data and information for those seeking to work on GBV in Congo and around the world. thank you for sharing this wonderful piece. Kudos please do not give up

Bettina Amendi
Mar 18
Mar 18

Hi Veronique,
I am happy for you.Its a good project.If i may ask,are you born again?

Sis. Salifu
Mar 19
Mar 19

This is a very intensive report. You might have put a lots of efforts before is beautiful like this. Thanks for sharing.