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30 October 2014

DR Congo “Listening House”

Since 2004 medica mondiale supports local women’s rights organisations, that are working hard to combat sexualised violence against women. The partner organisation La Floraison ("The Flower") built up the “Maison d’Ecoute” (the Listening House) – a place of immediate refuge for survivors of sexualised violence.

As 23-year-old Kuimba and her friend were on their way to fetch water from a well, they were ambushed by armed men, raped and then left lying unconscious. When they came round again, injured, confused and ashamed, the two young women agreed they would tell nobody else what had happened. However, some time later after watching a film shown by the Congolese women’s organisation La Floraison, Kuimba confided her secret to her husband. He then split up from her. Full of despair, Kuimba sought help at the “Maison d’Ecoute” (the Listening House) run by La Floraison – a place of immediate refuge for survivors of sexualised violence. Since 2008, La Floraison has been offering women and girls comprehensive support, counselling, family mediation and socio-economical reintegration. Additionally, they work in communities to raise awareness of sexualised violence and women’s rights.

So a counsellor from La Floraison was available to help Kuimba and facilitate reconciliation efforts with her husband. Today, Kuimba encourages other women to seek out and accept assistance. She is convinced: “If women are able to take part in political decision-making, things could change for the better.” medica mondiale is providing La Floraison with 10,000 euros in funding this year.