War is officially over in eastern Congo, but the violence continues. 23 year old Amani can tell you. She was raped last year in the forests of North-Kivu by men she refers to as “rebels,” and has since given birth to a baby girl. Then there’s 15 year old Neema who was held and repeatedly raped for a week last July outside Goma by an “older man” after being lured to his house by a classmate. She too will give birth soon. “I want him to be imprisoned for life,” said Neema of her rapist. “He destroyed my life and I don’t study anymore.”
|Cameraman Justin Purefoy filming displaced Congolese in Eastern Congo. Pictures © James Martone.|
I met Amani and Neema at the Heal Africa Hospital and other sites in Eastern Congo as part of a WDR 2011 research mission in February. The team was looking into the causes and consequences of this conflict that has been going on for over 15 years and killed an estimated 3.5 million people. I was there with cameraman Justin Purefoy to film people affected by the conflict and document their stories. The effect of massive sexual violence and overall lack of security were two of the issues we were exploring on video. The films and interviews will be published as part of the Bank’s upcoming 2011 World Development Report.