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by Women Arise Collective Correspondent Jolie ShabaniKivu

In Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, women and girls continue to be victims of rape and sexual assault by members of armed groups and security forces, then the conflict disappears from the media.

According to Justine Masika Bittamba, founder of Synergy of Women for Victims of Sexual Violence in Goma,

It’s getting worse every day, where at least one woman or girl is raped. The problem is that as soon as there are clashes, there is rape and violence against women. In Kivu, the war is intensifying, so we are witnessing an increase in sexual violence against women.

For personal and community trauma healing, most professional therapists agree that the most effective approach to trauma survivors involve three steps:

1. Stabilize and manage immediate reactions 
2. Explore and mourn memories
3. Reconnect with the world

An effective model of trauma treatment should also link trauma to social injustices in women’s lives, such as sexism, racism and poverty. Advances in trauma-informed care show that women and their health care providers need to discuss risks and obstetric trauma — an evidence-informed practice.

While social media has become essential to societal communications, it is critical to understand its nature and effective uses.

Editor’s Note: Taboo often prevents women from speaking of rape, so many do not realize that rape happens all over the world, in every culture and religion. The Women Arise Collective is a global circle of women committed to triumph over trauma caused by sexual violence. By using media, messaging and mobile solutions, we amplify women’s voices for good within community & help women realize they are not alone. Please partner with the Women Arise Collective. Give now.

Jolie Shabani