By Eve Ensler
I have been in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo for the month of December. Christmas at Panzi Hospital was overflowing with raped and tortured women. Many young girls, several under 14, carrying babies. Every day at least 13 new women arrive seeking care to repair the damage done to their bodies from the rapes and sexual torture.
Since Secretary Clinton’s wildly publicized and celebrated visit in August, since the UN’s report of success for the Kimia II military operation, since the international community in theory woke up to horrors of the merciless economic war in the Congo, the war rages on and takes its toll. I know because I sat with women who live in the bush, many of whom have now been raped two or three times. I sat holding them as their bodies shook uncontrollably, as they leaked urine from fistula, as they compulsively wrung their hands and hid their faces behind their panges and rocked and cried out to God as they told me their stories:
Ntalwinja, who is 50, from Kalehe was raped by the Interhamwe (former Rwandan Genocidaires) in front of her husband, tied to him and their goats and dragged for 12 hours, held as a sex slave for days on end, raped over and over. Left near dead in the bush, she finally returned to find her husband ill, his heart destroyed from what he had witnessed.
Masaura, who was selling fried fish and not a good runner, was grabbed and raped by three Interhamwe soldiers, taking turns and repeating. Finally crawling home, her husband, a gold miner, who had heard she was raped, expelled her and rejected his children because she was pregnant with her rapists’ baby.