Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Congo Initiative Issue Background

The Congo Sabbath Initiative, sponsored by the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing, is an effort to engage faith communities in educating their congregants about violence against women in the Congo. It supports the partnership of V-Day, UNICEF, and the United Nations in their “Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource, Power to Women and Girls of the DRC” Campaign ( This is a global campaign to increase pressure at all levels to do more to stop rape in the Congo while highlighting the role of women as activists. One result of the campaign will be the establishment of the City of Joy in Bukavu — a center for women who have survived rape and torture, where they will receive medical treatment, education, leadership training, and a chance to earn income.

Forty-seven national religious leaders have joined the Religious Institute in calling on congregations across the country to participate in a Congo Sabbath to raise awareness about the crisis in the Congo and to raise money for the City of Joy. On this page you will find resources to educate and engage your congregation around ending violence against women in the Congo.


  • The United Nations has declared that the sexual violence in the Congo is the worst in the world.
  • As many as one in two Congolese women have been the victim of sexual violence.
  • Over the last ten years, more than 200,000 Congolese women and girls have been raped. 
  • 70% of these women go without medical treatment because of inadequate facilities, poor infrastructure, and poverty.
  • The brutality of the sexual violence leaves many women with devastating physical conditions,  such as genital lesions, traumatic fistulae, and HIV.


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