Our Theory of Change

La Fondation Dr. Denis Mukwege place les survivants de violences sexuelles en temps de guerre au cœur de sa mission.

Nous soutenons les demandes des survivants pour un monde où la violence sexuelle en tant qu’arme de guerre n’est plus tolérée, et où elle a des conséquences pour les auteurs individuels et les États. Nous travaillons pour un avenir où les survivants reçoivent les soins holistiques et les réparations dont ils ont besoin pour reconstruire leur vie. Nous créons des opportunités pour que les survivants puissent s’exprimer et être entendus, et pour qu’ils puissent s’organiser afin de créer le changement, d’influencer les politiques et de demander justice et responsabilité. Nous utilisons le plaidoyer national et international et les campagnes mondiales afin d’obtenir un changement durable et systémique. Notre source d’inspiration reste le Dr Mukwege et son équipe à l’hôpital de Panzi en République démocratique du Congo. L’impact de leur travail en RDC nous motive à étendre leurs meilleures pratiques ailleurs.

L’Analyse du problème

La violence sexuelle utilisée de manière systématique lors d’un conflit est uniquement destructive : elle détruit effectivement la vie des victimes sans les tuer mais en les laissant avec un lourd fardeau physique et psychologique à porter pour le restant de leur vie, Mais par dessus tout en outre chaque individu victime, le but est de détruire le potentiel de reproduction d’un groupe ou d’une communauté et de répandre des maladies . En commettant ces crimes en public, ou en coercisant la famille ou les membres du communauté en les laissant être témoin de ces atrocités , les auteurs impactent toute la communauté en détruisant ainsi les liens sociaux et les relations. Telle une arme de guerre ; la violence sexuelle est utilisée pour démoraliser une communauté ou un groupe ethnique en détruisant leur résilience et leur capacité à se reconstruire et guérir.

La violence sexuelle au sein d’un conflit, incluant le viol, le viol en bande, la pénétration avec des objets ou des armes, l’esclavagisme sexuel, la grossesse forcée ou l’avortement, le mariage forcé, la torture sexuelle et bien d’autres abus horribles utilisés pour humilier et détruire l’identité sexuelle et l’autonomie de la victime. En plus de la blessure et de la maladie, l’impact psychologique et social de l’humiliation et de la honte sont toxiques pour les victimes et leurs communautés de la même façon. Les victimes sont typiquement excluent de leurs familles ou leurs communautés, et les enfants issus d’un viol font face tout le long de leur vie à la stigmatisation et au rejet.

Moreover, communities and authorities fail to hold perpetrators to account, preferring to maintain the status quo, enabling impunity and fuelling a downward spiral of abuses. Les violences sexuelles brutales commisent dans le contexte d’un conflit entrainent une augmentation de toutes formes de violences basées sur le genre. La violence conjuguale, le mariage de mineurs sont exacerbés dans un contexte humanitaire pour plusieurs raisons, à cause des séparations de famille, du manque de nourriture et de l’impunité des agresseurs.

Rape and sexual assault are also committed out of individual opportunism in a lawless context. La violence sexuelle ne s’arrête pas quand le conflit s’arrête. Les forces militaires sont démobilisées ou retournent à la base, mais souvent continuent de commettrent des crimes aussi longtemps que le non-droit persiste . Parfois une génération entière est amenée à penser que la violence sexuelle fait partie de la vie, ou que c’est la norme. La violence sexuelle est profondément ancrée dans les normes d’une société de genre qui détermine e que la société attend des hommes et des femmes leurs rôles définis, leurs privilèges et leurs limites.

Les inégalités de genre existent dans toutes les sociétés mais aussi en amont d’un conflit et d’une migration. Dans un contexte humanitaire fragile, cela devient une terre fertile à l’utilisation de la violence sexuale comme arme de guerre. Nous pouvons constaté la violence sexuelle lors d’une guerre comme le primse du genre. Cela veut dire qu’en instrumentalisant les rôles du genre, les populations sont plus vulnérables aux violences sexuelles comme arme de guerre et c’est plus souvent ce type de violence qui est commise.

Le Changement que nous Voulons Voir

Nous croyons que pour que le changement arrive, il est crucial de briser le silence autour de la violence sexuelle comme arme de guerre.

Nous travaillons pour un futur où les violences sexuelles lors des conflits ne seront plus vues comme inévitables mais reconnues pour ce qu’elles sont : un crime qui a de lourdes conséquences. We want the international community to draw a line against wartime sexual violence and strengthen its accountability mechanisms against states and individuals.

Notre approche est centrée sur la survivante, ce qui signifie que ce sont les survivantes elles-mêmes qui définissent leurs besoins et les solutions. Nous travaillons pour créer les conditions, cela permet aux survivantes de se battre pour leurs droits. Notre but est d’aider les victimes à se transformer en survivantes, et les survivantes en agents du changement.


Comment voyons-nous le changement intervenir?

La Fondation Docteur Denis Mukwege envisage trois stratégies inter-connectées pour que ce changement arrive:

Strategies

The underlying assumption for all these strategies is that the collective silence around sexual violence is what makes it such an effective weapon. It fuels a sense of shame in victims and their family members, it enables impunity and prevents victims from seeking support. Our strategies reinforce each other, creating an enabling environment where survivors can genuinely become agents of change: • When victims have access to dignified, integrated, quality care, which meets all of their needs, they can recover and heal, and regain their personal agency.

• When victims are given safe spaces to share their experiences, and to have their voices heard, they can support each other and start to reclaim their power. They can reach out to other victims of sexual violence and encourage them to come forward to claim the services that they deserve.

 • When survivors know their rights, and can voice their needs, they can become agents of change. They can organise themselves to claim their rights to justice and reparations.

• When survivors and their communities speak out about sexual violence they can break through deeply rooted taboos which place the blame on victims, exclude them from decision-making, and leave them powerless to change their situation.

• When survivors’ experiences and testimonies are documented on their own terms, the harms that they have suffered can be publicly acknowledged, and the widespread denial of these atrocities can be challenged.

• When survivors are supported to participate meaningfully in humanitarian programming and peace negotiations, their needs and voices can be kept at the heart of the laws, policies and programmes that impact them.

• When proper survivor-centred justice mechanisms are in place, survivors will be able to seek formal justice, breaking the cycle of impunity and recurrence.

Programmes and activities

Holistic healing

To heal from the harms of sexual violence, victims need to regain agency and control over their lives, their decisions, and their bodies. Their needs are complex and interconnected, and the solutions need to be designed with this in mind. In order to reintegrate into their community, it is essential their dignity and humanity are recognised. We promote the model of holistic, integrated care for survivors of wartime sexual violence pioneered at Panzi Hospital DRC as a human rights standard globally, and we facilitate its implementation in other (post) conflict zones. Wherever possible, we promote an approach where these services are integrated into existing healthcare systems, and we work with local actors to embed the model sustainably in the local context. Panzi’s model of holistic care is structured around four pillars that deal with the interconnected consequences of sexual violence. Each survivor of sexual violence has a social assistant assigned to him or her from the start. Together they design a tailor-made healing pathway that includes:

• medical care and, where needed, surgery for severe gynaecological injuries

• psychological support through oneon-one support and/or group counselling

• legal representation, and assistance in obtaining forensic evidence

• socio-economic assistance such as literacy training, small business management, and microcredit programmes.

At Panzi, all four pillars are integrated in a one stop centre, accessible at one location, with coherent referrals and co-ordination between services. For survivors this means receiving holistic care without the risk of stigmatisation, as anybody could be visiting a hospital for a variety of reasons. Coordinated services avoids survivors having to retell their story to multiple professionals and enables them to choose from the services as they feel they are ready.

Strong survivor networks and survivor-led activism

Survivors face crippling social stigma that prevents them from seeking justice, excludes them from their communities, and often leaves them to care for themselves (and their children) without any support. Many survivors suffer alone, unable to fight for their rights, or to influence programmes meant to support them. We believe this needs to change. We bring survivors of conflict-related sexual violence together in a global action network, and strengthen national survivor networks for mutual support, in order to break the silence around these crimes, and to call for a proactive political response from the national and international communities. Our support for survivor-led movements aims to tackle stigma, and to enable survivors to access the care and justice they deserve. We take a multi-pronged approach, giving different levels of support depending on survivor’s needs and their personal healing process:

• We organise regional and global retreats, giving victims and survivors a safe space where they can speak out, share with each other and receive support. We support local survivor networks with capacity building and resources, enabling them to develop solutions and actions according to their own context.

• We connect local and regional survivor networks with SEMA, our global network, for mutual support, inspiration, learning and growth.

• We facilitate survivor-led advocacy and awareness raising at local, national and international levels.

• We enable survivors to document their testimonies through creative approaches, to enable them to express experiences which are beyond words.

Wherever possible, we connect survivor activists and networks with the wider civil society ‘landscape’ at a local level for mutual learning and sustainability, and to coordinate joint advocacy towards service providers and authorities.

Hold to Account

We advocate for an end to the complicit silence and tolerance of sexual violence crimes committed in conflict, pushing for changes in policy and institutional behaviour to end impunity, and tackling the obstacles to justice that allow perpetrators to avoid facing the consequences of their actions.

Rape as a weapon of war is considered a war crime, a crime against humanity, and can amount to genocide. In international law, and in the national laws in many countries, there is legislation recognising crimes of sexual violence in conflict, yet perpetrators of these crimes largely go unpunished, and judicial processes do not meet survivors’ needs. Procedures may be slow or be influenced by corruption, the burden of legal costs might be placed unfairly on the victim, and proceedings often compromise confidentiality. Perpetrators often get minimal sentences or are not punished at all.

These crimes, committed across entire communities, spread diseases, destroy family ties and inflict harm over generations. Their consequences are further exacerbated by poverty and stigma. Survivors live with the double burden of the violence and of being shunned by their communities. Only a tiny minority of survivors of sexual violence worldwide ever receive reparations awarded by a formal justice mechanism. In addition to the sheer absence of a judicial infrastructure in many contexts, numerous hurdles prevent survivors from initiating proceedings, including widespread corruption, high legal fees, fear of reprisals and stigmatisation.

Moreover, survivors can rarely identify their perpetrators, as attacks often happen at night by armed militias, unknown to the community, or because individuals have been gang raped. Even in the rare cases where survivors have successfully brought proceedings against their attackers, and reparations were awarded by the courts, the procedures for obtain reparations is often transferred from the criminal to the civil courts, a time-consuming and expensive procedure that prevents most survivors from ever receiving compensation. Access to reparations and other forms of redress for survivors of sexual violence has not been a high priority on the policy agenda at the international, national or local level. The lack of formal acknowledgement and justice contribute greatly to survivors being unable to reintegrate into society. Sexual violence has an extremely negative impact on communities’ ability to heal and prosper after wartime violence.

To change this situation, we collaborate with other actors to undertake actions including:

• Capacity building of judicial and law enforcement actors, and promotion of survivor-centred procedures

• Advocating for various forms of reparations and redress

• Increasing survivors’ access to justice by raising awareness on their rights and on procedures for reporting, by providing legal aid and financial support, and by addressing possible repercussions

• Advocating for perpetrators to be held accountable, building on existing laws and accountability mechanisms

• Seeking innovative solutions at the local and national level which are capable of providing a sense of justice to survivors and victims.


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