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Rehabilitation Centre in Eastern DRC Helps Victims Cope with the Trauma of Sexual Violence

It was the silence of the traumatised young women she saw before her that convinced dance teacher Amina Lusambo she must do something to help. So she set up dance sessions for rape survivors at a rehabilitation centre attached to Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, in eastern Congo, which according to hospital authorities has treated more than 60,000 survivors of sexual violence in its some 20 years of operation. One 20-year-old woman in Lusambo’s class said dancing had released her from the pain and fear she held inside, allowing her to sleep peacefully and smile again. Experts say Congo has made some progress in combating sexual violence and several high-level militia and army commanders have been prosecuted for rape in recent years, but the problem remains pervasive. “Dance therapy helped me to take away all the bad things I had inside me. The sadness and fear I had all went away.”