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Men in South Kivu recently gathered to advocate for the cause of women and girls to support all actions that put an end to the various forms of violence towards them. The support was given at the official launch of the ‘V-men Congo’ – movement that took place 7 March 2014 in the Bodega-room in Bukavu.

Liant presented the document nearly 20 people have signed at the bottom of their form as a sign for their commitment. With this act they opene the door for other men to plead to the same cause of building a lasting peace and a fair world in which every human being will have the right to live according to the dignity of his or her nature.

As a human being, every woman and every girl has the right to life, the right to visit a school, the right to do decent work, the right to elect and be elected at all hierarchy levels and the right to work in decision making positions. To be able to enjoy all those rights the women and girls must be freed from their shackles of backward traditions and practices. They should be especially supported in their on-going struggle against any kind of violence imposed by men.

But where are the men?

“I remember a women who had been attacked in a busy street. Seeing that other men passed without saying anything, she started shouting: ‘But where are the men?’,” said Dr. Denis Mukwege, Medical Director of Panzi General Hospital, at the launch of the ‘V –Men Congo’ movement.

“Men are here. Near you,” he added.

Mukwege’s statement summarizes the determination of South Kivu’s men to no longer remain indifferent to the suffering of women caused by the cruelty of men.

The ‘V-Men Congo’ movement

The ‘V-Men Congo’ movement was founded 2008 in New York at the initiation of Dr. Denis Mukwege. The movement no longer addresses only Congolese people but the also the world as the problem is a global one.

“I am proud of the fact that the ‘V-Men’ movement initiator is a Congolese,” said Eve Ensler, founder of the ‘V-Day’ movement.

‘V-Men’ includes men who fight for equality between the genders and who advocate against all forms of rape and sexual violence against women.

“Women rights is not only of interest to feminist movements, it is a global issue that puts our humanity and the future of our society at risk. We must therefore mobilize all men and women to fight for a society that helps the development of us all”, members responsible for the V-Men’ Congo movements conceptual framework said.

One of these members is Marcellin Cishambo, governor of South Kivu, and there are several other authorities.

In fact those men are working on shaping a new culture of masculinity. As it is the current culture that is responsible for those rapes, a culture that states that a man is never allowed to cry and needs to have answers even if they don’t do so.

“We want real men, Congolese who know how to love, cherish and support women, who stand up for woman rights. This minority of men who commits barbarities against women should not stand as representatives of the Congolese people,” Dr. Denis Mukwege adds.

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