I had seen the movie Hotel Rwanda, and known about the war that was going on; that was ten years ago. The documentary, The greatest silence: Rape in the Congo showed a deeper, more cringe worthy side than the movie ever could. This is the biggest civil war that the people in the Congo have ever seen, and sadly it just keeps getting worse. The fight over gold, diamonds, and coltan (used to make our batteries for our phones) has lead to villages being burned, houses being raided, and families torn apart; most by rape.
One of the most dehumanizing thing in this world is for a woman to be raped. Not only by a males genitalia but by objects such as branches, guns, and handles of swords. The militia goes into homes of these families and either sends the father running for his life or kills him, then they have their way with the women in the house. Often their children and made to watch, and sadly sometimes they are a victim of rape as well. There is no one type of women who is raped, all ages, women who are pregnant, and especially those who are married. When a married woman is raped, she is no longer desirable, this can lead to a life filled with turmoil. Many of these women are raped so viciously that hospital care is required, some need surgery, and other lose their genitalia all together. The men of the militia are out to ruin the villages, and stop them from gaining more power, by sterilization.
Of the women who are raped, over 30% will contract HIV from their perpetrator. The terrible things that these women go through is often enough to ruin their lives. Sanctuary's have been set up in some of the larger cities, and out in the jungle where women can receive medical support, and protection from the militia. These sanctuaries also provide mental support, by giving classes (so the women have a trade to go out into the world with) and also all of the other women there have been affected by the same thing. These women use each other as a support system. These women's children are allowed in the sanctuary, but sadly they are stigmatized by the outside world as bastards, their fathers have left them, because their mother is no longer clean. Some of these children are even products of the rape that their mother endured.
The militia has been asked multiple times "why do you rape these women?" the response is "It will bring us to victory!" Many of these militia men started out by being a product of rape or someone who had lost their entire family, and was adopted into the military for the leaders use. The poor children have been brainwashed by what they have known for most of their lives. The leaders know that if you run out the men of the country, who will fight? they are weakening the defense system by ruining families. Men are afraid to come back, and many of them don't come back for their wives.
Eve Ensler, creator of the vagina monologues has been raising money for the women in the Congo to help them stay safe and get the medical attention that they will need. The city of joy is what she created.