FILE: Chung_TearsintheCongo_01.jpg
DESCRIPTION: Congolese women, most of them victims of sexual violence, sit inside a saloon at a transit center run by CRN/Hope in Action, Kichanga, Masisi Territory, DR Congo, March 2009. There are several transit centers in Masisi, where victims either come through before hospitalized in Kichanga or Goma; or from Goma's Keshero Hospital back to their homes after they get healed. ********* Women in the DR Congo suffer from Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) by different militia groups and civilians. According to UNFPA, 13,247 cases a year, and an average of 1,100 cases are reported each month in the country. One of the reasons for the highest sexual violence in the world is the notion of impunity on perpetrators, who, in the case of rebels, escape back to the jungle after committing the crime. However, there is an increasing number of women speaking out, trying to arrest the perpetrators. There are both military and civil courts in Goma that deal with rape cases, and without the DNA or age tests, the tribunals struggle to prosecute the accused perpetrators. Some of the accused rapists are inside the Central Prison, either already being sentenced or waiting to be. Some argue that they are the victims of women who try to harm them or make profits without any evidence. Despite all odds, the victims live a hard life while receiving surgeries and treatment, and struggle once they go back to their village.