Congo Churches Help Rape Survivors

. 1 min read

Josephine Efulantu (left) from Office United Methodist Church in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, works with women who have been abandoned, raped or widowed during their country's civil war.
By Kathy L. Gilbert

Maman Doris was walking down a familiar dusty road on her way to a nearby market to buy food.
Suddenly, two men dressed in militia uniforms grabbed her, raped her, leaving her bleeding and seriously injured.
The 60-year-old widow said she has developed “an illness in her uterus and the bleeding has not stopped.” She hides her face as she whispers her story into the ear of a friend, the Rev. Esther Furaha, a United Methodist pastor from Bukavu.
Furaha translates her story and says the woman finally found help when her pastor and friends in her church brought her to Panzi Hospital in Bukavu. The hospital is well-known for taking care of women who survived vicious sexual assault.
“She is a faithful United Methodist,” another friend said when he spots her waiting on a bench outside the admission office. He was horrified to learn of her ordeal. “She is in church every week, singing in the choir.”
Doris (not her real name) is one of east Congo’s raped women. There are thousands.