Based out of Sub-Saharan Africa, this is a new therapy approach for sexual violence combined with a financial system that would help survivors to rebuild their lives.
The Rape Fund is being introduced this year by Karis Features as a spec project. We are the in earliest stages of preproduction and hope for it to begin by 2016. The main obstacle for our next steps is the budget. We have had a lot of very generous people come on board but we need many more. If you have an interest in investing and joining with us to bring this mission to fruition please contact the staff of Karis Features.
Summary: After the collapse of the genocide in Rwanda tens of thousands of Hutu Militia left their punishment by fleeing into the jungles of the neighboring Congo. Fourteen years later the fighting that began from these unwanted outside rebels is still raging. Over 3.9 million people have been killed making this single conflict the deadliest since WWII. Worst of all the women of the Congo have been trapped in the middle. On a daily basis these militia torture, rape, and kill women throughout the country. Bukavu, the epicenter of the sexual violence, has a hospital that serves these very women. The GRHP, or Panzi Hospital, was established to help treat the needs of the local community. Over 75% of their patients are women who have been sexually attacked. The role of The Rape Fund will be to send a team of specialists to the DRC and have them train local community workers at Panzi Hospital in the field of Art Therapy. The hospital would be a given the funds to provide salary for these new staff members for a period of at least 5 years. During this time the therapists would work with women to use creative expression as a means for healing. The work that is created, with the permission from the women, will be shipped back to the United States and sold at Galleries and Auctions for high prices. The money would then be sent back to the Congo where half would go to the hospital and half would be provided directly to the woman who created the piece so that she could start rebuilding her life.
Background: “The gynecologists at the GRHP have been practicing in the province for 25 years. A new pathology has emerged as a result of the war: genitourinary fistula secondary to sexual violence. These acts are committed not by known persons within the survivors circle, but by perpetrators from outside. The aim is the destruction of the community within which she lives. Once committed the survivor, her husband, children and extended family become traumatized and humiliated as well as members of the community. It aims to ruin relationships thus promoting dysfunctional family units. The Christian values that normally exist strongly within the Congolese communities have been lost as a result of the atrocities. As well our research has been limited by focusing on the medical statistics with no mention of the psychological trauma experienced by these women.
One such story involves a young woman and her aunt coming from the field in Baraka, a village in the south of South Kivu. Upon reaching the river, they were intercepted by seven solders who forced them to carry each of them on their back in order to cross the river. After carrying the soldiers the young lady was forced to have sexual intercourse with each soldier. The last soldier inserted the point of a gun within her vagina and shot a bullet causing destruction of her vagina, bladder, rectum and buttocks. She was taken to a medical center in Baraka, from where she was transferred to GRHP by the ICRC. She underwent six surgical procedures before being transferred to Addis Ababa for further treatment.
This triggered an outcry from our institution. Our denouncement of sexual violence towards the population has been heard by Doctors without Borders, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. Observers from these organizations have been dispatched to these villages and after a report from Human Rights Watch our issue has been heard by the international community. We have been fortunate to receive donations and investments by many organizations and hospitals. Experts in psychological war have also become involved in attempts to put an end to the practice of abusing women as an instrument of war. Since 2002, humanitarian efforts have intensified and the international community sensitized to the issue, making our cause a globally recognized issue.”
- Excerpt from Panzi Hospital’s Website