Beauty in the Middle: Women of the Congo Speak Out

BIM Graphic

The Nobel Women's Initiative and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are proud to launch our online multimedia exhibit, Beauty in the Middle: Women of Congo Speak Out!

The exhibition tells the inspiring stories of both Congolese women activists and survivors of sexual violence, mobilizing against incredible odds to end rape and find a way to justice and peace. View the powerful images of award-winning photographer Pete Muller and hear the women of Congo speak out through films by Artefact Creative.

Meet women like Solange Lwashiga Furaha, who brings together female leaders to hold the Congolese government accountable for its commitments to gender equality and include women at the peace table; Neema Namadamu, who uses digital media to amplify the voices of women demanding peace—providing digital and internet literacy training on sharing their stories with a global audience; and Julienne Lusenge, who leads a coalition of grassroots women’s groups providing direct support to sexual violence survivors and helping them navigate the justice system.

Amidst the constant threat of sexual violence, armed conflict and instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo, these remarkable women have dedicated their lives to improving the lives of other women. These women are the Beauty in the Middle.

Ending violence against women is a global responsibility

To address violence against women, the focus should be on strengthening and implementing existing global policy frameworks that define the obligation of member states to prevent and respond to violence against women, and ensuring accountability mechanisms are in place.

With the review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+20) underway, the international community will not only acknowledge the progress made in the past 20 years but also assess the remaining gaps and challenges in its implementation, including violence against women, to feed the lessons learned into the post-2015 development agenda processes.

Moving forward, it will be crucial to continue to engage on the post-2015 processes and ensure that the proposed goal on gender equality and the empowerment of women is implemented.

Find out more

Women and armed conflict: infographic

Today is the UN Security Council's Open Debate on women, peace and security! Check out this infographic that highlights the impact of conflict on women and girls.

Since the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1325 in 2000, women’s empowerment has been seen as a key ingredient for democracy, stability and lasting peace.

Despite the successes, "the past year has seen increased violence, mass displacement and humanitarian catastrophes, which have had a detrimental impact on the security of women and children."

Dr. Denis Mukwege wins Sakharov Prize


Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese gynecological surgeon who has treated thousands of women and risked his life in a campaign to end the use of mass rape as a weapon of war, has been awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament. 

In 1998, Dr. Mukwege founded the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu to heal the physical damage and the psychological trauma that follow sexual assault. Despite multiple threats to his life and practice, Dr. Mukwege continues to campaign for an end to sexual violence in conflict.

Read more