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DDA partners with Panzi to support women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Dr. Mukwege’s statement on June 19, International Day for Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

Statement of Dr. Denis Mukwege on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict

Bukavu  (19 June 2017) – As sexual violence continues to be committed on a large scale worldwide, today’s International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict serves as a reminder that society must eradicate one of the most painful and shameful consequences of war.

In conflicts around the world, from Congo and South Sudan to Syria and Myanmar, rape is  a method of warfare deployed to terrorize and destroy entire populations. Sexual violence creates life-long physical and psychological trauma, destroys family bonds, increases the spread of preventable diseases, and leaves deep and long-standing marks on entire communities.

The violence committed against the bodies of women and men, boys and girls, is the disgrace of the 21st century.

Stand up against sexual violence

It is time to stand up and fight against these crimes at a global level. Building a global movement that prioritizes survivors, civil society members and organizations is critical to eradicate sexual violence.

Today, we also remember the victims and honour the survivors of sexual violence around the world. Their courage and strength in overcoming fear and stigmatization is a great source of inspiration.

Prevent sexual violence through deterrence

This year’s theme of the international day “preventing sexual violence through justice and deterrence,” raises awareness on a critical aspect in the fight against rape as a weapon of war. The prosecution of the crimes not only helps to prevent violence through deterrence. Courts also offer victims an avenue to obtain justice for and acknowledgement of their suffering.

Survivors of sexual violence are increasingly standing up to draw attention to this neglected, global problem and advocate for justice and reparations. We call on governments to become more involved and respond to their call. States have the responsibility and authority to join efforts and enforce the prohibition on the use of sexual violence in conflict.



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Help protect Nepali women from acid attacks

Sangita Magar and her friend were standing in their school classroom in Nepal when a man broke in and threw acid in their faces. It caused extensive burns and unless she gets urgent medical attention Sangita may lose her sight.

The attacker, Jiwan BK, had been a tenant in Sangita’s home, where he is said to have become infatuated with her. After she rejected his advances he decided to punish her. The high profile case sent shock waves throughout Nepal.

Sangita Magar’s mother feeds her during her hospital stay

Two years later, Sangita has just won a Supreme Court judgment thanks to the  Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD), which brought the case on her behalf. The government will hopefully now close a loophole, which had previously denied compensation to acid attack or burn victims in certain cases and had allowed husbands who committed these crimes to benefit from reduced sentences.

This is a landmark judgment, but more needs to be done. You can have a direct impact by making a donation (a recurring donation if you can) to support our partner, FWLD, in its continuing efforts to build momentum until every woman and girl in Nepal is effectively protected from the horrific crime of acid burning, and all other forms of gender-based violence and discrimination

Even a small contribution will make a big difference!

Yours sincerely,

Jessica Neuwirth
Executive Director

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Will SA be the first African country to pass effective laws to end prostitution?

While it is widely acknowledged that existing laws governing prostitution in South Africa have done little for the well-being of people in prostitution in this country, it has still taken several years for any progress to be made regarding the amendment of laws pertaining to the sex trade.

Read the full article in Mail & Guardian

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Help us protect girls from female genital mutilation

Ifrah was only seven when she underwent female genital mutilation (FGM) close to her home in Puntland, Somalia. Now 25, she has vowed that none of her four daughters will undergo it.

FGM includes the alteration or removal of a girl’s external genitalia. As a survivor of this extreme form of violence myself, I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to ending it, so I set up a center in Puntland, where we teach over 2,000 disadvantaged girls and help protect them from FGM.

Our vital work is being done on a shoestring and in a difficult environment where violence, instability, famine and drought are ongoing challenges.

Your donation would have a direct impact. A $300 donation would pay one teacher’s monthly salary to educate 2,000 girls about FGM, but every cent you donate will help us transform the lives of girls like Ifrah.

Please help us do even more to empower girls to be anti-FGM advocates in their own communities!

Thank you,

Hawa Aden Mohamed
Executive Director, The Galkayo Center

In The Media

FGM doesn’t just happen “over there”. It is a global issue. To learn more, read Jessica Neuwirth’s opinion piece on CNN.

FGM is now considered child abuse, but where is the funding? by Jessica Neuwirth in The Guardian.


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The most dangerous country in the world to be female?

We wrote to you in March aboutthe shelter I run for girls and women in Afghanistan, which will close down if we don’t find new funding. So far, you have generously given over $13,000, which is enough to keep us running for a few more weeks!

Zarmina was just two when her mother sold her off to a 22-year-old Taliban member. Mah Jabin was ten when she was handed over to a man who beat and raped her over the course of three years. Both girls rely on staying in the shelter. If they leave, they could be stoned to death.

We continue to rely on your donations to keep the shelter open until we find new funding. Thank you for anything you can do to help us.

Yours sincerely,

Najia Karimi
Executive Director, HAWCA

Read more in my opinion piece for the LA Times about how Afghanistan is the most dangerous country in the world to be a woman and see images and more from our shelter in The Washington Post.

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Inga needs emergency shelter to escape abuse and build new life

Six years ago, Inga met Andris in Riga, Latvia. After a few months, Inga fell  pregnant. Following the birth of their first daughter, Andris became physically and emotionally abusive. He stole Inga’s passport, clothes and bank cards, forcing her to be completely dependent on him, often locking her in their flat.

Iluta Lace and members of the Marta Centre team

It is a story we know very well at the Marta Centre. Similar abuse has happened to many of the hundreds of women who come to us for help each year. Sadly, what happened next is also familiar.

Andris began to advertise sexual services from Inga online, coercing her to into prostitution. He always collected the money. He beat her if the sex lasted for longer than 15 minutes, or if the condom broke. Although he was the pimp and she was his victim, he continued to maintain a clean record, while Inga was arrested and charged on several occasions. With the law seemingly on his side, he often threatened to take away their children, which helped to keep Inga trapped. Whenever she did manage to run away for a short time, Andris always found her and manipulated her into coming back.

Inga approached us recently to seek help. To be able to leave her current situation, she needs a totally safe and secure place, where she and her children can live without fear that Andris will find them. The Marta Centre can only fund the cost of a shelter apartment for a short time, but, with your help, we will be able to provide secure accommodation and support Inga and other women for as long as they need to be able to safely exit prostitution. 

Yours sincerely,

Iluta Lace, The Marta Centre


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Afghan women’s shelter will shut down without your help

I am writing to you from Kabul, where the Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA) has been running an emergency women’s shelter for the past 13 years. However, it will have to shut down within days, unless we can find new funding. 

This would mean no more support for girls like Zarmina, who was forced into marriage with a Taliban member at age 14. After fleeing continuous sexual and domestic violence, she received urgent medical treatment and rehabilitation in the shelter and returned to school. With nobody else to support her, Zarmina is dependent on HAWCA. If she returns to her village, the Taliban will stone her to death.
Each year, between 180-220 women and girls have found protection in our shelter – often fleeing sexual or domestic violence, child marriage or sex trafficking.
Your donation will give us the lifeline we need to keep the shelter open until a more sustainable solution is found.
Thank you for anything you can do to help us.

Yours sincerely,

Najia Karimi
Executive Director, HAWCA


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