A few days ago, I caught a BBC3 documentary in their “World’s Most…” series and very rarely have a documentary made me cry days after I watched it. That day’s documentary was entitled “World’s Most Dangerous Place for Women”. I was really looking forward to watching it as any stories/documentary featuring women is always up my alley.
The main ‘character’ featured was a 23 year old Congo born British woman who left at aged 3.5 years old and have never been back there, not even to see her parents. The cameras followed her ‘home’ for the first time and we see her finally being reunited with her aging parents. This woman, Jude, finally understood why her parents sent her away all those years ago when seeing the state of the country after years of war and conflict.
But what really got my goat, so to say, was the local Congolese women featured in the documentary. Living in the war/conflict ravaged North Eastern D.R Congo, they have learned to accept that being raped was a way of life for them! Yes! Being raped repeatedly in your lifetime was as normal to them as you and I paying high taxes when we earn a lot. Now, how could this be?
I have always maintained that as a woman, I have choices. I have a choice to stay in an abusive relationship or I can walk away and find freedom. But these women, they can never really walk away. Unless they can find a way out of those villages, they don’t really have any where to go. Without wanting to go into political details, these women are kind of stuck in their situation. It doesn’t help that the Congolose society at large has accepted that being raped is normal. Now they have generations of women being raped, all in the same family. And the perpetrators are the police, the military, the rebels and just other male villagers. Basically just a living, breathing, male, the other sex.
Just like Jude, what really pulled at my hearts strings was a story of this mother named Chloe. She was raped years ago, conceived a little girl and then raped again some time later, giving birth to twins. Just some time ago, she was raped again by rebels, had her twin babies brutally murdered and even that precious little girl was not spared. I cried buckets when I saw Jude crying and interviewing the victim, Chloe, with her stoic face, just made me so sad. I am too, a mum of 2 beautiful girls, one of whom is 4. I cannot imagine having to bear witness to brutalities to my own children.
I really want to spare you more of the gory details. It is up to you now to see if you want to find out more. My question to you is, how is it that in this day and age, women, my sisters, are still being treated like second class citizens? Sometimes, more brutally treated than the lowest animal? Who owns our bodies? And even more, who owns your mind? Can you accept a society’s view that contradicts your own?
If you are a woman, or respect women, please spare a thought to these almost helpless Congolese women. There is a group of women out there doing their best to make a difference, no matter how small. I am really encouraged by this organisation and hope one day to be able to set foot there and help in my own special way. If you’re really curious to know more, here’s 2 great blog reads from the trenches so to say.
An article written by the producer- http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcthree/2010/03/the-worlds-most-dangerous-place-for-women.shtml?page=9
An article from the main participant herself, Judith Wanga- http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/28/congo-women-danger-war-judith-wanga