SOS: Women at Risk in Congo Wars
(SOS Femmes en Dangers, Democratic Republic of Congo)
Will speak on
“SOS: Women at Risk in Congo Wars”
March 31, Tuesday 4 pm
Co-sponsored by Gender and International Policy Research Center, Women’s Studies Research Center, Transnational Applied Research in Gender Equity Training project, African Studies Program, Human Rights Initiative, Division of International Studies, and the Center for Interdisciplinary French Studies.
Marceline Kongolo-Bice has endured and witnessed more suffering than anyone should encounter in a lifetime. Imprisoned at age 13 for refusing a military order to marry a local commandant, Marceline lost her father and older brother to murderous soldiers and was forced twice by the chaos of militia fighting to flee from her home. In her home province of Maniema, and wherever she fled to in the Congo, Marceline witnessed the systematic use of rape as a weapon of war – and saw firsthand its horrific consequences – of women being brutally massacred, mutilated or abandoned by their families and communities.
Settling eventually in Fizi, in southern [Kivu province of] Congo, Marceline channeled all the trauma of her young life and began working with the victims of rape at the age of 18. In 2003, she founded SOS Femmes en Dangers, an NGO dedicated not just to the healing and rehabilitation of rape victims, but also to empowering women to know their rights, defend themselves, and rally together to make their voices heard. Her goal is to ensure that rape survivors do not feel shunned by their communities – and to build a network of emotional, financial, and educational support for these women. Between 2007-2008, SOS provided school fees and literacy training to hundreds of rape survivors, educated more than 500 women about their rights, conducted extensive interviewing and reporting on 50 new cases of rape and human rights violations in Fizi, and introduced 130 young women to a micro-credit program for victims of sexual violence. Marceline has overcome the terrors that she faced as a young girl and found the courage to speak out against an injustice to which many others have lost their hope and dignity. She now makes it her mission to pass that courage on to as many young girls as she can reach.
Women’s Studies Research Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
108 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Dr.
Madison, Wisconsin 53706