London, Mar 29 (ANI): French First Lady Carla Bruni has teamed up with one of hubby Nicolas' most popular ministers, Rama Yade, to underline the blight of sexual violence in Africa.
In eastern Congo armed gangs use rape as a "weapon of war".
Now, Bruni, a singer, has come out in defence of the rape victims, a move which has drawn attention to her role as a French "queen of hearts".
The beauty was the guest of honour at a soirée in Paris in defence of the victims.
According to Yade, who hosted the event, up to 300,000 women have been raped by the militia groups and government troops that have preyed for several years on civilians in eastern Congo.
"Rape is used in these zones as a weapon of war," The Times quoted Yade, as saying.
"What shocks me is the breadth and violence of the crime. We must put a stop to this affliction," she added.
Last year, when Yade visited eastern twice, the Senegalese-born learnt about women raped by members of various armed groups, including the Congolese army. Some of the women had been gang-raped in front of large crowds to intensify their humiliation.
"When you've heard this, you cannot remain silent," said Yade.
Bruni, 41, said that the global Aids charity for which she is an "ambassador" would offer funds to help Congolese rape victims. She has also promised to lobby a G8 meeting in Sardinia for more aid for Africa. (ANI)