Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Event to aid victims of sexual violence

Funds raised to help African rape victims heal through music

  • Print
U of W president Dr. Lloyd Axworthy promotes Right Her Future.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

U of W president Dr. Lloyd Axworthy promotes Right Her Future. Photo Store

Winnipeggers can help victims of sexual violence in the world's worst place to be a woman.

Tickets go on sale today for Right Her Future -- an evening of dialogue and music March 27 to raise funds for the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, eastern Congo. It treats thousands of women victimized by sexual violence in a country where rape is used as a tool of war and the UN says is the worst place in the world to be a woman.

Hospital founder Dr. Denis Mukwege will be in Winnipeg for dialogue with Canadian human rights champions Sen. Roméo Dallaire, War Child founder Dr. Samantha Nutt and University of Winnipeg president and former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy. The event at Pantages Playhouse Theatre includes music by Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy and members of Winnipeg's Congolese community, organizers said at a news conference Monday.

The event is co-ordinated by Make Music Matter founder Darcy Ataman. Since 2007, the Winnipeg music producer has been helping victims of conflicts in Africa rehabilitate through the power of song.

In November, Ataman met in Bukavu with Mukwege and the Panzi Hospital's psycho-social team to set up a music program for patients that's culturally appropriate. Patients in the hospital's after-care program will soon have a chance to write, perform and record their own music at a recording studio that is being built there in May. Local musicians and producers will help operate it, said Ataman, who's visited the hospital in Bukavu several times.

"It keeps getting bigger and bigger," Ataman said of the patient load. Stigma haunts rape victims and it's hard for them to return to their communities, he said.

"They have nowhere to go," he said. It affects them and their children, said Ataman.

"Lots of children come from rape and they have no education." Their traumatized mothers don't have any supports to help them parent and there's no early childhood education to help, he said.

The therapy of storytelling through songwriting and the self-esteem gained from recording music can help the victims heal and re-connect with their communities, said Ataman, who's worked with former child soldiers.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees donated $10,000 to the Right Her Future event.

"It's really special what (Ataman) is doing," said Congolese community member Martin Mulimbwa, who is helping organize the March 27 event. Most Manitobans have never heard of the Panzi Hospital and aren't aware of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo that's killed an estimated six million people, he said. Rape is commonly used as a tool of war among militias fighting over the country's resources, said Mulimbwa.

"Rape is that type of weapon used to scare women, and women are the social fabric of any community," said Mulimbwa, an IT professional.

There are Congolese refugees in Winnipeg who were victims of sexual violence, Mulimbwa said.

"It's very hard," he said. "They're guarded about bringing personal traumas to outsiders," said Mulimbwa. "We go to them and support them morally," said Mulimbwa, who arrived in Canada 14 years ago as a government-assisted refugee and has since sponsored many Congolese newcomers to Canada.

He hopes the Right Her Future event can raise awareness about the Panzi Hospital helping victims of sexual violence in Congo -- something Winnipeggers can learn about and ask their MPs to address.

"We in the West have the power to stop what is happening there," said Mulimbwa.

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 28, 2014 A7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jim Flaherty remembered at visitation as irreplaceable

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A group of Horese pose for the camera in the early evening light at Southcreek Stables in Stl Norbert Wednessday. Sept  14, 2011 (RUTH BONNEVILLE) / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Gardening Column- Assiniboine Park English Garden. July 19, 2002.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the province’s crackdown on flavoured tobacco products?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google