Gbadolite, 9 April, 2011 – The rise in sexual violence, especially against women has become worrisome in the District of Nord-Oubangui in the Equateur province. To help alleviate this situation, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), through its Public Information Division, held a meeting with the district’s female leaders in the provincial capital, Gbadolite to educate them on combating this scourge.
The keynote speaker encouraged the 30 participants to continue their struggle by systematically reporting all types of violence perpetrated against women.
After a briefing session on the various forms of sexual violence, more information was shared through a series of question and answer.
The participants complained about lack of sufficient support for their struggle from both the local authorities and external partners.
While addressing this concern, the keynote speaker informed the women about MONUSCO’s mandate, especially as it relates to the protection of civilians. He told them, however, that the primary responsibility for their protection lies with the Congolese authorities. MONUSCO’s role, he explained, is to assist the authorities.
He also stressed the need for the women to empower themselves through peer groups, and urged them to initiate a snowball effect by sharing what they learned about sexual violence with their peers.
With the country’s general elections drawing near, he encouraged them to make their voices heard by registering and voting in large numbers.
Jean-Tobie Okala / MONUSCO