THE Archbishop of Canterbury used his visit to the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC) last week to back a new campaign by
Tearfund to stop sexual violence in the country.
Archbishop Welby was joined, on Wednesday of last week, by the
UK Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, and the Archbishop of Congo,
the Most Revd Henri Isingoma, in Goma, on the eastern border of the
DRC, to meet survivors of rape.
It is reported that in the DRC one woman is raped every 90
seconds.The campaign "Silent No More" is a joint initiative between
Tearfund and the Anglican Church of Congo, which seeks to change
the culture around sexual violence, and to help survivors.
Archbishop Welby said: "The terrible suffering of the peoples of
eastern DRC is a global tragedy. Since my first visit in
2009, I have been seeking to support those locally who tackle the
issue of sexual violence."
"Silent No More", which is funded by the Foreign Office, will
also undertake a study into the attitudes and behaviour of men and
boys in eastern DRC. It will work with local churches and faith
groups toprevent sexual violence by challenging a culture of
tolerance towards rape and other forms of sexual assault.
Mr Simmonds said: "We cannot succeed in stopping rape and other
abuses without local people working at the heart of communities to
develop a shared commitment to end this devastating crime. Faith
groups are well placed to do this.
The deputy director for Tearfund in the DRC, Christine Karumba,
said: "Changing men's attitudes to women, and men's understanding
of what it means to be a man, is key to tackling Congo's appalling
record on sexual violence."
The Archbishops and Mr Simmonds also visited the charity HEAL
Africa, which provides medical treatment and counselling for
victims of sexual violence.
Archbishop Isingoma said: "This is a priority issue for my
Church, and for me personally. Ending the conflict in the region is
also crucial, and that is why the Roman Catholic and Anglican
Churches of Burundi, Rwanda, and the DRC are working together in
the pursuit of peace in the Great Lakes region."