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Nobel Prize a powerful reminder of need to end sexual violence

The award of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize to two campaigners against rape in warfare, Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege, is a powerful symbol of the need to tackle the scourge of sexual violence.

Ms Murad is an Iraqi Yazidi who was tortured and raped by Islamic State militants and later became the face of a campaign to free the Yazidi people.
Dr Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist who, along with his colleagues, has treated tens of thousands of victims. He has spent decades helping rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He and his colleagues are said to have treated about 30,000 rape victims, developing great expertise in the treatment of serious injuries sustained during sex assaults that were carried out as a weapon of war during decades of conflict in Eastern Congo.

We have a longstanding commitment to tackling the horror of sexual and gender based violence and fund a range of projects to support survivors in the DRC.

Over the last 20 years, wars and relentless fighting between rebel groups seeking to control the region’s vast mineral wealth have left the population deeply traumatised.

Sexual violence has been used as a weapon of war. Women and girls who’ve been subjected to dreadful physical attacks are often thrown out by their husbands, fathers, families and villages because of the stigma associated with being raped.

We've been working with local partners to help women, and children born of rape, for many years. With money donated in Scotland we trained 22 doctors in fistula surgery, gave medical equipment to hospitals and health centres and helped over 12,000 women get the treatment they need.

We’ve helped many more women with trauma counselling, given comfort and support through setting up women’s self-help groups, and provided business management training and small loans so they can support themselves and their children.

And working with an organisation of lawyers, AJV, we’re also giving free legal aid to thousands of women so they can take their attackers to court and get justice, and helping children born of rape to get birth certificates, so they can access education.

With your help we will keep on supporting survivors of sexual violence and its very good news this issue is finally getting the attention it deserves.