Rape is a silent, often invisible crime. The pain and the consequences it causes are also hidden. Coming forward and breaking the silence in the face of stigma is often an insurmountable task. That is why it is imperative to connect survivors in a movement.
With the original facilitation of the Mukwege Foundation, victims and survivors from over 21 countries and 6 continents have come together to form SEMA- The Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Sexual Violence. Together, they are able to draw attention to the use of rape as a weapon of war and demand the changes necessary to end the violence and achieve justice.
We facilitate the creation of networks on both the national and internal levels, by encouraging a forum to meet and exchange ideas and execution of their respective advocacy goals. Through our own network, our media contacts and our reach on social media, we support survivors in their initiatives.
When survivors speak up, the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war can no longer be ignored.
Also known as the Mouvemente des Survivant.es de RDC, the Survivors’ Movement in the DRC was created following the first global meeting of survivors facilitated by the Mukwege Foundation in Geneva in June 2017. With the support of the Panzi Foundation and the Mukwege Foundation, the movement now has more than 2,000 members, all of whom are survivors of sexual violence and activists in North and South Kivu.
Through the movement, survivors are envisioning a country without sexual violence, where the rights of survivors are respected and protected. The movement was created for a solidarity network and a space for exchange and mutual assistance between the victims to rebuild their lives. Furthermore, it aims to help other survivors to gain access to care they need, create a project of collective memory about their experiences, and gain recognition for their sufferings by society. Members also participate in the SEMA movement and conduct effective advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns.
With support from the Mukwege Foundation and participation of 322 survivors, six local survivors’ organisations came together to establish their own national network, MOSUCA (le Mouvement des Survivantes de violence sexuelles en Centrafrique; Movement of survivors of sexual violence in the Central African Republic). The network mainly focuses on preventing sexual violence, supporting victims, particularly in regard to socio-economic empowerment, fighting against stigma, and ending impunity.
Since its establishment, the Mukwege Foundation is supporting MOSUCA members to carry out awareness-raising and advocacy activities at the national level, to play a more active role in the international network of survivors. Then, at the end of the project, the survivors’ movement is expected to operate in a completely independent and sustainable manner.
In Ukraine, sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war and as a punishment for political, ideological views, or participation in the army or religious views. Today, the Ukrainian network consists of about 15 women who have been victims of sexual violence mostly in places of illegal detention. With the support from the Mukwege Foundation, the Ukrainian network aims to create an engaging space for survivors to connect and interact with each other. The network also aims to spread awareness, assist women who survived violence, and conduct advocacy activities.
With the Boko Haram insurgency and Herdsmen conflicts in Nigeria, there is increase in reported cases of sexual and gender based violations, especially against women. As a result, survivors of sexual violence continue to suffer physical, physiological, emotional and also displacement consequences.
To prevent any further violence, the Nigerian network has created a platform for survivors of sexual violence in Nigeria to connect each other and to build a collective memory that would engender their healing from the experiences. With support from the Mukwege Foundation, approximately 100 survivors have participated in workshops provided by the network. Aiming to increase solidarity among survivors in Nigeria, empower survivors, and listen to survivors’ voices for awareness and policy change, this project is implemented in Yobe, Adamawa and Bomo State.