As the annual Coventry Peace Festival gets underway, the Coventry International Prize for Peace and Reconciliation has been awarded to Thérèse Mema Mapenzi from the Justice and Peace Commission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
'Let's talk about trauma: how talking can be the first step to healing for rape victims in war'
Thérèse Mema Mapenzi is the Sexual Violence Programme Leader for the Justice and Peace Commission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and works with rape victims in the city in Bukavu, in South Kivu, which is in the east of the country.Thérèse runs 16 listening centres in different villages in South Kivu.These centres help women to tell their stories in a safe place, coming to terms with their ordeals through counselling, listening and support.
On Monday 17 November, 12-1pm in the Ramphal Building, Thérèse Mema Mapenzi will share the challenges that she faces in this work and the support that people need to speak out about sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Registration is required for this event.
It is very important that the voices of women affected by sexual violence are heard. Rape has become a weapon of war and we must not let it be forgotten because it has become commonplace. Every assault against a woman or girl is a terrifying and devastating experience, especially when it is often followed by stigmatisation by family and friends. The Listening Rooms offer a safe place for women to talk and make friends with other women who have been raped. When many have been disowned by their families and communities after their attacks, the Listening Room becomes their family and offers a crucial life-line in very hard times."
About the Coventry Prize for Peace and Reconciliation
Warwick is playing an active role alongside Coventry Cathedral, Coventry City Council, the Diocese of Coventry and Coventry University in the Coventry International Prize of Peace and Reconciliation. The Prize rewards and encourages creative and courageous peace builders around the world. It is a civic, religious and academic partnership unique to Coventry. It honours initiatives, organisations, individuals or projects that have made an exemplary contribution to working for peace and reconciliation, or in campaigns for social and environmental wellbeing.
The Prize is aimed at world-wide grassroots projects and local communities, rather than international media or diplomacy and is open to all, irrespective of nationality, ethnicity or faith.
The Peace Prize 2014 Award Ceremony will be held in Coventry Cathedral on Friday 14 November at 6.30pm.