Nuclear Wasteland

Women Beyond War: A World March in Africa

A look back at the World March of Women, an event to promote women's rights and protest violence against women.

In mid-October 2010, hundreds of women gathered in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), including 250 representatives from 48 countries who joined more than 1,000 delegates DRC delegates. The march was designed to bring awareness to sexual assault, violence against women resulting from war and political upheaval, and issues surrounding women's education and equality. In addition tot the massive march, participants formed panels to discuss economic empowerment, public service, and demilitarization.

The event could not have been held in a more appropriate place. An estimated 1,000 rapes are committed every month in the DRC, and nearly 40 percent of the victims are under the age of 18. The use of rape as a weapon of war has tormented the women of DRC during the past decade and a half of civil conflict.

However, women today are winning more through their mobilizing than ever before. In February 2011, thanks to the brave testimony of 49 women, a military court in eastern DRC for the first time convicted a commanding officer for mass rape and crimes against humanity. Eight other soldiers were also convicted and sentenced to more than 115 years in prison. Congolese women working with international solidarity groups are meeting with government officials to discuss ways to hold more military combatants accountable for their crimes.

This short film captures the mood of the World March of Women and conveys the demands coming from women who have for too long borne the brunt of violent conflict.

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