Two stories from Africa that I came across last week generated contrasting emotions.

This story from Congo suggests that 48 women are raped every hour.

The study, carried out by three public health researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute at Stony Brook University in New York, and the World Bank, was partly financed by the US government and based on figures from a nationwide household survey of 3,436 Congolese women aged 15 to 49 in 2007.

The figures showed 12% of women had been raped at least once and 3% of women across the country were raped between 2006 and 2007. About 22% had also been forced by their partners to have sex or perform sexual acts against their will. The study also revealed alarming levels of sexual abuse in the capital, Kinshasa.

The UN has called the country the centre of rape as a weapon of war

Elsewhere in Nigeria, this story about journalists creating their own free space is extremely inspiring.

SaharaReporters was created to be liberating tool for communities under siege from tyranny and oppression. By asking citizens to “report themselves,” our idea was to create both a news platform and, more importantly, a media movement making use of a wide range of technological innovations in order to freely exchange information – especially information that liberates and expands our democratic space.

It takes a lot to express oneself. But the cost of staying silent is even more disastrous.

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