Statement of V-Men Congo at the Launch of their Movement In Bukavu
an article by One Billion Rising (reprinted by permission)
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?”
photo from Hôpital de Panzi
click on photo to enlarge
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
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
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
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
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.
(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)
(Click here for a French version of this article)
Question(s) related to this article:
What role should men play to stop violence against women?,
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LATEST READER COMMENT:
No More Steubenvilles: How To Raise Boys to be Kind Men
What can we do to help young men respect women, recognize consent, and have healthy sexual relationships? Teach them kindness to others—and the courage to go against the crowd.
by Kim Simon
posted Mar 18, 2013
When Max was just a few months old, I sat cross-legged on the floor with him in a circle of other mothers. The facilitator for our “Mommy and Me” playgroup would throw a question out to the group, and we would each volley back an answer.
“What quality do you want to instill in your child? What personality characteristic would you most like for your son to be known for?” she asked.
One by one, the mothers answered. “Athletic”, “Good sense of humor”, “Brave”, “Smart”, “Strong”.
The answers blended together until it was my turn to speak. I looked down at the tiny human wiggling around on the blanket in front of me, his perfectly round nose, his full lips that mirrored mine. I stroked the top of his very bald head, and said with confidence: “kind”.
I want my son to grow up to be kind.
The eyes of the other mothers turned toward me. “That’s not always a word that you hear used for boys” one said. “But yes, you’re right … so I guess, me too”. At the end of the day, we wanted our tiny, fragile, helpless baby boys to grow up to be kind. . ...more.