Dr. Mukwege, Godfather of V-Men, Puts Out a Call to Men
Dear Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honor for me to take part in these sittings and mostly to have the privilege to hold the floor. Allow me beforehand to express my acknowledgement and feelings of gratitude to the organizers who have thought to associate us to the current works. This is also a proof of confidence you show to our humble person.
Dear Participants, being actors and Human Rights activists, you fight against injustice in all its facets as well as degrading practices which result from it ; such as rape, sexual violence, sexual slavery, sexual mutilation, rape as war weapon and strategy and so forth.
For many decades women have been taking the lead in this fight ; giving the impression of a struggle of the female against the male; although it constitutes a legitimate claim against vile practices established by groups of people only to appease their egoistic sexual lust and patriarchal attitudes. Gender based violence is simply a horror, therefore, to eradicate this evil, which is discrimination and shameful exclusion, must call out to both women and men.
It is true that not all men are rape perpetrators, not all men support gender based violence. But why do they keep quiet and behave as if they were accomplices for barbarous acts and indescribable horrors women undergo? That is the entire question on which We, men are invited to answer for the success of the action that men must carry out against sexual violence done to women.
Our biggest challenge, therefore, is to denounce, to speak out and even change man's behavior which continues to treat women as if they were not our equals.
Don't we say: "silence is tantamount to consent?"
Why must men continue to require girls' ablation of the clitoris?
It seems the incentive is to have wives without orgasm; so as to avoid exposing them to infidelity.
What a monstrosity!
Why should men decide to refuse orgasm to women under the only pretext of possessing them as objects for their own pleasure? What egoism!
There is no other way of explaining the refusal of orgasm to one's partner than looking for self - pleasure, neglecting all medical and psychosocial consequences that could result from it and which can cause frigidity and a sum of unprecedented consequences for the health of one's partner.
Why must abortion of a female embryo be institutionalized when nature has already established the order of things by putting equality in the sex ratio? Why should boys' education be given priority in Africa sacrificing girls?
Why do we focus so much in reversing that natural equality between men and women?
Our fight must focus more in the re-establishment of that natural equality between men and women.
These sittings give me an opportunity to amplify the movement which must call us into question as men with regard to our masculinity. We have to think again about our masculinity so as to make it be more responsible. As far as masculinity is concerned, in my opinion, a responsible masculinity is the one that takes into consideration all women's assets and fairly gives them the value they deserve with equality and without any fear.
Rapes and gender based violence will end when men understand the ugliness of sexual assault; the day they will understand that rape and sexual assault degrade their masculinity.
Through their education, young boys will understand that to obtain what they want using violence, when they can obtain it by being charming, is a shame to all men who want to protect their masculinity.
Men must be engaged in this movement so as to fight and abandon all those alienating and retrograde traditions for women and regardless of tribe, countries or continents.
We must beforehand understand that people are conditioned by others, and that we hold in us the part of a woman which calls us to more listening, love, tolerance, and protection for a full bloom life.
When we destroy female embryos, when we kill women; we are destroying ourselves since it is impossible to talk about life without women on this planet. It goes without saying that excluding the woman from her realm of life, man creates disequilibrium in all areas of his life, but integrating her, as it was in the origin, constitutes a favorable frame for each one to taste the extreme pleasure hidden in the other.
There won't be any equilibrium in our planet if women are excluded. We must give them a space to express their opinions and feelings, to realize that they can do as much as men can or even more.
By excluding 50% of our output capacity in the competition, we weaken ourselves.
My commitment in the fight for women is grounded from wretched reports: Young medical Doctor as I was, I watched with indignation the number of women who died trying to give birth, it means life, during delivery. This revolted me since I knew that these deaths could be avoided if decision makers had the will and gave means.
Having in mind my own limits for this scourge, I took the decision to fight on the side of these women whose rights were totally ignored and who died in performing their duty in absolute indifference.
It is in my journey as a Women's Rights' militant that I discovered all kinds of atrocities that women were subjected to and for which they have to keep quiet, for cultural and social, reasons, unfortunately...
I discovered the depth of a woman's pain who has been raped while men consider this vile act as a slight one and furthermore sometimes incriminate the woman considering her to be the responsible for what happened, her defiler and rapist forgets everything after his act.
The trust that my patients put in me has allowed me to understand that for a woman, rape is an immeasurable drama which can turn her life upside down in irreversible destruction. If the rapist forgets his heinous crime, from which he did not find the expected satisfaction, the Rape survivor lives with her wound all her life.
That's why, I am convinced that men have to be well informed of the seriousness of their acts and of the related psychological as well as physical prejudice in order to have a radical change in their behavior.
We, the men who are here, have each given a lot of effort and the fruit is visible. Yet, it is not enough because the road is still long and this must be done in collaboration with our female peers to boost this men's movement 'V-Men' against sexual violence and make it become a global movement in which millions of men denounce sexual violence and gender based discrimination.
To be V-Men is to:
• Refuse all kinds of gender-based discrimination.
• To denounce sexual violence in all forms.
• To fight in favor of equal opportunities for women and men.
Together we can lead our planet towards more justice and equity.
Together we can overcome sexual and gender based violence.