GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IS WIDESPREAD IN AFRICA, BUT A SOCIAL PROJECT IN THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO SEEKS TO COMBAT IT
Miriam was still a minor when she was raped by a neighbor. Felicité was repeatedly beaten by her partner, and Viviane, an ethnic pygmy, was subjected to violence and discrimination. The list is long when it comes to what in the Republic of Congo – and in the whole of Africa – is a very serious problem: gender-based violence. We’re talking about physical violence but also verbal, sexual and racial violence. It is even endured by widows, who are held responsible for the deaths of their husbands and for this reason are subjected to punitive rituals that require the shaving of their heads as a sign of shame, the care of the deceased’s corpse for days on end, and the subsequent expropriation of their property. On the vast African continent, nearly one in two women has experienced such acts of violence at least once and, according to a UNICEF report, three out of four women consider it normal for a man to beat them. In order to combat this widespread malpractice, the Republic of Congo has an ad hoc national policy, while in Pointe- Noire and the entire coastal department of Kouilou, the “Kutelema na kuniokuama ya ba kento” (Let’s stand up against abuse against women) project is active.