Supporting recovery and restorying hope

Project Resilience, formed in Los Angeles by a group of friends, aims to effect immediate and long-term change for women who are victims of physical and emotional violence, supporting recovery and restoring hope for a future with dignity and independence.

At present we are working to serve the urgent needs of women who are victims of mass sexual violence in the ongoing Civil War in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a decade of war has claimed the lives of more than five million people, making this the most deadly conflict since WWII.   In this war-ravaged country, women’s bodies have been reduced to battlefields as they are tortured, mutilated, gang-raped before their families, forced into sexual slavery, and left for dead.

In 1999 gynecologic surgeon Dr. Dennis Mukwege Mukengere joined Panzi Hospital (L’Hopital de Panzi), located in the eastern DRC, where as many as 70% of all women have been raped or sexually mutilated.  He continues to serve as the Director of the hospital and is the only gynecologic surgeon working full time there.  Mukwege offers much-needed medical attention for these women.  The hospital admits an estimated 3,600 rape victims per year, offering treatment for the host of critical health problems plaguing them, including sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV), pregnancy, and fistula, a condition that results in incontinence of urine, stool, or both, often leaving victims homeless and destitute.  The hospital receives ten women per day on average, one-third of whom require major surgery in order to restore their broken bodies.

 In 2007, Panzi Hospital and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), a university inter-faculty-initiative based at the Harvard School of Public Health, partnered together in order to help train doctors, build capacity, treat victims, and undertake an aggressive research program designed to uncover the root causes of gender based violence in order to intervene and prevent further atrocities. The mission of HHI is to relieve human suffering in war and disaster by advancing the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide.

Project Resilience:  All women deserve to live with dignity, without fear, in peace, and with full ownership over their own bodies.  A woman’s body is not a battlefield.

  Photo by John Paul Doguin Photo by John Paul Doguin
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