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.: http://panzifoundationdrc.tumblr.com/
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.