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Congolese Men Launch A Feminist Group

Two dozen men in the Democratic Republic of Congo have launched a group to fight for women’s rights in the region, which has been called the worst place in the world to be a woman.

“Women’s rights don’t just affect feminist movements,” the members of V-Men Congo said in a statement announcing the group’s formation.

“The stakes are global. It’s about our common humanity and the future of our society.”

The group, led by Denis Mukwege, a celebrated doctor known for founding a clinic for rape victims in eastern DR Congo, was launched ahead of International Women’s Day on Saturday.

Its mission is to combat “shameful” discrimination and misogynistic attitudes, which impede economic development, it said.Read full article.

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“Let’s break the silence, let’s change the mindset of our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers, and let’s put an end to impunity and to sexual violence,” it said.
A third of women in 28 countries in the EU report being the victim of abuse. This is an issue that affects us all. Read more from The Guardian.

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STATEMENT OF V-MEN CONGO At The Launch Of Their Movement
In Bukavu At BODEGA On 7 March 2014

We, members of the conceptual framework established as V-Men Congo, concerned with injustice which women are subjected to; Are aware of the cries of women “where are men?”

Understand that women are our most precious resource, pillar of the family, the basic cell of the Nation, and backbone of the economy. Today, in the twenty-first century, despite their daily struggle, determination and courage, some customs and cultural practices of our retrograde patriarchal societies keep them in an inferior status of second-class citizens and modern slaves.

We daily see them carrying heavy burdens, and suffer other degrading practices in our cities and countryside;

Understand that sexual violence exists in a latent state in all cultures and in all social classes in peacetime, and is exacerbated during wartime where women and girls are the primary victims of conflicts decided by men;

Considering the fact that women are not only our mothers, our sisters, our wives and daughters, we know that all human beings are equal and therefore everyone should be able to make choices freely and without discrimination. The gap between the daily realities and the rights recognized in international conventions, the Constitution and the laws must be bridged;

Knowing that equal access to education, health, work, property, political rights for girls and women are not only a way for states to comply with their legal obligations, but it is the best investment to contribute to social progress and generate economic prosperity, ensure opportunities for all and everyone’s participation in the public interest.

Today, one day before the celebration of the International Women’s Day, We, V-MEN Congo address the following message:

Women’s rights are not only of interest to feminists, it is a global issue, it is our common humanity, and concerns the future of our society. We must all be mobilized; men and women, for more fair society that promotes the development of all;

We reaffirm our commitment to the struggle for gender equality where men will fight hand in hand with women so as to change the current marginalization of women and the limited access to resources;

We appeal to political, religious and traditional authorities to end discrimination and misogynistic attitudes that shame humanity and undermine prospects for sustainable development;

We call everybody to break the silence, change the mindsets of our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers and put an end to impunity, sexual violence and gender-based violence.

We commit ourselves, together with boys and men, girls and women, political leaders and civil society, in a spirit of mutual respect, complementarity and solidarity, to build peace and a fair and prosperous world where everyone has the right to live in accordance with human dignity.