July 25 – Saturday is a Work Day

Well it is Saturday morning, in Congo Saturday morning is a work
day — we work until 1pm and then the weekend begins. The last three
days of work have focused on interviews for my study on the factors
that influence the exile or reintegration of women into family and
community after experiencing rape. We have interviewed rape survivors
who have been exiled and reintegrated, husbands who have exiled and
reintegrated wives after rape as well as community leaders, doctors,
nurses, priest, community health workers, lawyers, police, and rapist.

In DR Congo as in all the world, rape brings great shame to woman and
family — the Interhamwe (Hutu rebels who perpetrated the genocide in
Rwanda) continue their genocide targeting Congolese women. Simply,
and it is much more complicated, the rebels have destabilized
families and communities through rape — bringing great fear and trauma
too all, so they are in complete control of communities in some rural

There are amazing and strong Congolese doctors, nurses, health workers
and advocates that are working with families and communities for
reintegration of victims and educating women and men on health and
trauma, as well as building skills in agriculture and animal
husbandry to support economic well-being. It has been a pleasure to
work with these men and women — I am very fortunate.

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