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Rape in the Congo: Pondering Life Beyond Our Fair City

Eve Ensler asks us to get inspired, get informed and get involved.

Rape in the Congo: Pondering Life Beyond Our Fair City

Sometimes it isn’t about Our Fair City. Sometimes it is about the world beyond these gilded streets and thoroughfares. I was reminded of this as I listened to Eve Ensler talk about the work she has initiated in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Eve was in Palo Alto this week to raise awareness and funds for the work being done on the other side of the globe. She spoke to the young women of Castilleja on Thursday night and to their mothers and friends the next day.

Eve, and her V-Day supporters, have built a shelter for victims of sexual violence called the City of Joy right in the heart of the Congo. You know the Congo, don’t you? It’s on the forefront of rape as a weapon of war. Hundreds of women, children, and men are sexually violated each week as fighting for money and minerals and territory decimates the country and its people.

This subject just isn’t something most of us spend our time thinking of as we go about our daily routines, but I can’t seem to get it out of my mind since I heard her speak. 

Here is what she said

“It’s about the girls who bear children with faces that mirror their rapists.

“It’s about the women who have never had a tender touch.

“It’s about a strength and a courage to go on that no one of us can truly understand.”

Here is what I learned:

  • Since 1996, more than 200,000 people have been victims of rape in the country.
  •  Sixty-five percent of them are estimated to be children.
  • Ten percent are under the age of 10.

 Here is what you can do:  

Get Inspired: Listen to Eve’s talk at TED.

Get informed: On Tuesday, a lecture on the Women of Congo will proceed the showing of Ruined, a Pulitzer prize-winning play by Lynn Nottage. The lecture and play will be presented at the Berkeley Rep Theatre. Don’t miss it.

Get involved: It costs $3,600 to provide training, education and support to one victim at the City of Joy. Get a group of friends together to combine funds and change one woman’s life

After you’ve done these things, you can (try) to go back to your daily routine. I wish you luck.

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