It can take a long time for the women here to recover from the ordeals they have been through. The handicrafts they make serve not only to take their minds off their trauma but also to give them a skill which might help them to earn a living once they return home.
Fighting has been diminishing in the eastern DRC over the past six months. Violent assaults on women, however, continue. They are not only carried out by soldiers but also by civilians. Doctors at the hospital say they are seeing an increasing number of children who have been raped.
Though most of the women here are victims of sexual violence, some are recovering from routine surgical procedures associated with pregnancy and childbirth. By mixing them, the hospital authorities hope to reduce the stigma faced by those who have suffered sexual assault.
There is something poignant about seeing the women so absorbed in making roses from material and wire. What they have suffered, say doctors, involves not only physical injury but also an assault on their dignity which can take even longer to recover from.
Doctors at the hospital say there is unlikely to be an end to the high level of sexual violence until some rule of law is established in DRC. For the time being, impunity is the norm. Very often, women return to their villages only to see their assailants walking around as if nothing had happened.
22 July 2014 Searching for Safety in Democratic Republic of Congo
27 June 2014 WFP Calling: What Did You Eat Today?