Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obstetric Fistula in the Congo - Covered by Democracy Now!

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tours the Democratic Republic of the Congo, she is likely learning about obstetric fistula.  In Eastern Congo and other areas of violence in the DRC, obstetric fistula is common among women who have been violently raped and/or sexually abused.  

Congolese human rights activist Christine Schuler Deschryver describes, on radio station Democracy Now!,  the affect of obstetric fistula on women in the Congo.  Below is a link to her words (you'll have to listen for a couple minutes, or skip forward, to hear specifically about fistula), and the section of the transcript pertaining to obstetric fistula. 

    The Transcript

    AMY GOODMAN: They suffer from fistula. Can you explain what that is?

    CHRISTINE SCHULER DESCHRYVER: I’m not a doctor. It’s quite very difficult. But I know that when they have fistula, it’s like, you know, instead of—it’s everything, urine and things, everything comes out.

    AMY GOODMAN: They’re completely incontinent.

    CHRISTINE SCHULER DESCHRYVER: You cannot control. You’re out of control, so these people smell very bad, and they have infections. And they cannot live, you know, in communities. And they have to be repaired by heavy surgery.

    AMY GOODMAN: So they can’t control their urine or their bowel movement, and so—

    CHRISTINE SCHULER DESCHRYVER: Not at all. So everything just go out when they’re walking, when they’re sleeping. It’s just—

    AMY GOODMAN: They become pariahs in their community.

    CHRISTINE SCHULER DESCHRYVER: Yeah, yeah, of course. And also, you have to know that in your community, when they know you are raped, you are fired from the village. They stigmatize you, and also the husband, if you survive, he will just ask you to leave, most of the time with the children.

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