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STOP RAPING OUR GREATEST RESOURCE Events in Kinshasa, V-Day visit to the DRC

STOP RAPING OUR GREATEST

RESOURCE Events in Kinshasa,

 V-Day visit to the DRC

On June 6, Eve Ensler and

V-Day Managing Director

Susan Celia Swan traveled

to the Democratic Republic

 of Congo (DRC) to join V-

Day Congo Director Christine Schuler

Deschryver for events in Kinshasa and visits to

 Goma and Bukavu as part of V-Day and

UNICEF's joint campaign STOP RAPING OUR

GREATEST RESOURCE: Power to the Women and

 Girls of the DRC. Following is an update:

The trip has been full of great highs and lows.

 We started in Kinshasa, the capital city, where

 the V-Day movement has taken hold. There are

over 100 activists working on sexual violence

 in the city, inspired to change consciousness

 and initiate lasting change.

On June 5, Eve and Christine spoke to the

Congolese Parliament of over 500 ministers

 followed by a meeting with the activists. The

next day, five women from various provinces

around the country, all survivors of sexual

violence, broke the silence in a major event

attended by government, diplomatic and

 United Nations officials, activists and members

of civil society. The women also delivered over

4000 letters to President Kabila written by

 campaign activists to the representative of the

 DRC's First Lady, who attended in her place.

They told their stories with grace and heart and

the over 500 men and women in the room

 listened with tears in their eyes. Each survivor

 demanded that the audience support the

 campaign, and commit to real actions to stop

the violence that has affected hundreds of

thousands of women and girls.

One woman explained her reason for speaking

out, "...It is a cry on behalf of all women, those

who have spoken out, and those still in hiding

 because of the stigmatization and the shame.

 ...in my eyes, all those who tolerate sexual

 violence, turn a blind eye, refuse to denounce

and condemn these barbaric acts - they are all

as guilty as those who commit these crimes...."

 

Another survivor acknowledged the power of

the community that is building around the

STOP RAPING OUR GREATEST RESOURCE

efforts, "...We have chosen to speak out so that

 we can help each other to get back to our

families and our lives... I know now that there

is a network of activists all over the country. I

am now a member, but until you speak up you

cannot be heard. The solidarity from these

groups helps a lot with the healing."

The finale of the day was a performance of The

 Vagina Monologues by five extraordinary

 Congolese actresses. The audience at the Hotel

 Sultani included hundreds of government

 ministers and diplomats, activists and civil

 society. Following the performance, the

 audience committed to address the issue and

 not only asked that a performance of the play

 be staged for the Parliament but that the play

 tour Congolese cities and villages, particularly

 where the people live without water and

 electricity and are cut off from television. The

Congolese participants made the play their

 own, sparking an unparalleled dialogue

 between men and women in Congo. As a

 woman said at our follow up activist meeting -

 "the culture of Congo changed yesterday. The

 taboo was broken." We wish you could have

been there to hear the men talk about what

they've learned about vaginas, and what

women said about needing to look at

themselves and needing men to look at their

 vagina. The Human Rights Minister and Gender

 Ministers were chanting 'vagine.'

CONTINUE Reading the Update >

READ the Press Release >

READ Digital Congo coverage (in French) >

DONATE to Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource: Power to Women and Girls in Democratic Republic of Congo >

Eve Speaks About Conflict Minerals At D7 Conference

On May 26, Eve spoke at the

 seventh annual D: All Things

 Digital conference which

 features technology leaders

 speaking on the impact digital technology has on our

lives, now and in the future. Eve spoke to a sold out

audience about the link between the conflict mineral

which are used in cell phones, laptops, and gaming

 systems and the ongoing, brutal rape of women and girls in the DRC.

 

READ the blog >

WATCH the video >



17/06/2009

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