COMBATING SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND INJUSTICE IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
Malachi Leopold, Founder, Left Brain/Right Brain Productions
Muadi Mukenge, Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, The Global Fund for Women
Natacha Thys, Senior Legal Advisor, Africa Division, The American Bar Association
Photo courtesy of V-day photo gallery
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the incidence of rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence is the highest in the world. The United Nations estimates that since armed conflict began in 1996, there have been more than 500,000 cases of rape and sexual violence. In response to this crisis, the Congolese government passed a national law in 2006 on sexual violence that clearly defines rape and provides expedited judicial proceedings for rape cases and greater protection for survivors. Nevertheless, impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence is widespread. What then, is being done to ensure that the perpetrators of these crimes are punished? How is civil society filling in the gaps where government has failed to offer expedited judicial proceedings? Join The Chicago Council on Global Affairs to learn about what is being done by civil society, the NGO community, and the Congolese government to combat this crisis in one of Africa’s largest and most important countries.
Malachi Leopold is the founder of Left Brain/Right Brain Productions, a full-service video production company with a mission to create positive social change. Leopold has produced and directed projects from Chicago to the Congo, and Gaza City to Amsterdam. Recent projects include "22 Years From Home," a documentary which qualified for the 2010 Academy Awards and the "Trep Life" original series, offering a view of what it takes to succeed as an en-"trep"-reneur. Leopold earned a B.A. from Butler University.
Muadi Mukenge is the regional director for Sub-Saharan Africa at The Global Fund for Women where she has increased support in the areas of conflict-prevention, economic policy advocacy, and empowerment of rural women. She has supported the women's movement in the Great Lakes Region, and facilitated GFW grantee meetings in the DRC on ending sexual violence and advancing women's rights. She originally comes from the DRC. Mukenge earned a M.A. from the University of California Los Angeles.
Natacha Thys is the senior legal advisor, Africa Division of the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI). She currently oversees ABA ROLI’s programs in the eastern DRC. Prior to joining ABA ROLI, Thys served as the project director for the International Labor Rights Fund’s Rights for Working Women Campaign to combat gender-based violence in the workplace in Africa and Latin America. Thys is also a human rights attorney. She earned a J.D. from American University.