Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, North Kivu, Goma. 24/01/2017. A landscape of the Kivu Lake at the sunset. Women are a driver for Congolese society, because it is the women who perform the most varied tasks in order to support their families, and they are also responsible for raising children. More often than not, rape goes unpunished in the Congo. Rape victims totalled 15,000 in 2015 alone.

Mwavita in final of the Luchetta Prize

Mwavita. Born in a time of war is one of the finalist works of the International Journalism Prize Marco Luchetta. The prize aims to give recognition to the works of journalism that best understood and communicated the drama and suffering of those who are victims of violence in the world.

It’s not surprising therefore thatMwavita, one of the latest publications on Gli Occhi della Guerra, has won a place as one of the finalists. In fact, it represents the sensibility and outlook of its authors, the photographer Marco Gualazzini and the reporter Daniele Bellocchio, on one of the darkest realities of the Democratic Republic of Congo: rape.

Dark because it is a real horror, but above all, dark because this horror continues to repeat itself day after day, year after year, in the most debilitating silence of the media. There are 15,000 acts of sexual violence committed every year and these remained unpunished in Congo, and it is not only women who are targeted, but also children.

 Mwavita has been able to capture the pain of these victims, left crushed by the violence of a country that seems to have never been able to free itself from such a tragedy. In fact in Congo, rape is used as a weapon by armed groups, and therefore its roots go deep into a history of exploitation, conflict and poverty that have indelibly marked this martyred land.

Watch the full report here

Mwavita’s force lies in knowing that the denunciation of this harsh reality is complex with a delicate sensibility. The story of the plague of violence through the voice and eyes of the congolese women, that with few words, but above all with their looks, show the world what it means to bear such a scar.

The suffering of the abused women and children does not last just in these moments of aggression but carries on for the rest of their lives. It continues with surgical operations that many face to repair the mutilations that were suffered, and it continues with the isolation from their family, their friends and from society as a whole.

The documentary has a real impact. It cuts deep into the heart of its viewers. This is precisely the objective of the authors, who when faced with the goal achieved by Mwavita say: “An acknowledgement that we hope give to the tragedy of rape in Congo. A horror that needs to be exposed more and more. The war that consumes the bodies of the weakest ones, the most vulnerable: from Bukavu to Gomaa, from Rutshru to Kavumu is a daily barbaric happening daily, a conflict away from the spotlight, but one that should not be overwhelmed. The drama feeds on the silence. It is our duty to know about it and understand it first and foremost.”

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