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Rising from the ashes

By Prayer team | 07 Jul 2016

Her family has survived some of the worst atrocities of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Instead of giving up Yvonne is boldly challenging attitudes in her country that impede justice and legitimise violence.

Yvonne, from Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is a true overcomer. Bunia has been affected by some of the DRC’s worst conflicts where rape has been used as an appalling weapon of war. Although Yvonne’s community and her own family have endured these horrors, she has not let grief have the last word. Instead of losing hope she is working hard to bring about change for her region.

Yvonne has become a volunteer in Tearfund’s project to combat sexual violence, delivered in partnership with the Anglican Church. The project is run as part of the UK government’s Preventing Sexual Violence initiative (PSVI).

Yvonne is now vice president of a PSVI Community Action Group, providing support to survivors of sexual and gender based violence and encouraging the community to speak out against these crimes. Through the project she has trained in advocacy and negotiation skills to support survivors to take up their places in their families and communities again. She also knows the laws and local legal processes to help survivors access justice.

Yvonne says, ‘There used to be a lack of understanding about gender based violence, it was accepted as a fact of life. This is changing. Victims used to think they should not speak out, now they do. We should not be quiet if we are victims or witness sexual violence.’

She is also working to promote true masculinity as part of the PSVI, challenging social norms which often legitimise violence and say that to be a man you have to be ‘tough’. Thanks to all her work in the community, Yvonne was also recently named a local leader and is now able to lobby for change at a high level amongst her male peers.

Praise God for the strength and perseverance he has given Yvonne, placing and using people like her to bring about change.

Tearfund has recently also launched an emergency appeal to help those urgently needing aid across the DRC.

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Written by Prayer team

The rather mysteriously named Prayer Team is made up of a number of writers working closely with country and development experts in the UK and overseas.