Congo’s War on Women

By Mary F. Calvert for World Vision

Over the last several years, World Vision has been working on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (DRC), aiding the thousands of woman and children who have been the victims of rape as a tool of war. Protecting women and girls from sexual violence is a taunting task for any organization working in a conflict zone but World Vision faces the challenge head on. They implement programs that prevent rapes before they occur and provide aid and emotional support to rape survivors like Masika Katsuva who runs a collective farm for gang rape victims.

The dedicated people at World Vision were very helpful to me in exposing the savagery of the rape crisis, when I traveled to DRC in 2009 on behalf of a grant awarded to me by the White House News Photographers Association. The work involved traveling around Eastern Congo for almost five weeks meeting victimized women, the perpetrators who brutalize them and the heroes of this horror story. The project ran as a three part series, two-part video and special section in The Washington Times.

The resulting project was named as a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography for “ …courageous work published in The Washington Times that vividly documents how rapes, by the tens of thousands, have become a weapon of war in Congo”.

Since then, I have traveled around the country lecturing people about rape as a tool of war and the women and children I recorded and photographed in Congo.


Photographer: Mary F. Calvert / professional

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Award Year: 2011

Non Profit: World Vision

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