Why Congo? Why help?
The conflict in the Congo is the most deadly in the world, but saying that does not begin to convey the atrocities that are happening there. Women are being used as weapons of war, and the realities of daily life for them are appalling: gang rape, torture, and being forced to watch as husbands and children are murdered.
48 women are raped every hour in Congo.(*Note – This video is beautifully done, but aired years ago. As a result, the death toll is sadly much larger than what is quoted. Please see bullet points below.)
Is there hope? Yes. But to help, it is useful to understand what is happening.
Here are some basic facts:
- The war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo began with the Rwandan genocide.
- It is the deadliest war since WWII, and also the most ignored.
- Over 7 million dead, with 45,000 more continuing to die each month.
- Innocent women are used as weapons in this war: warring militias compete to be the most brutal, and thus the most feared.
- Thousands of women (ranging from ages 3-80) are gang raped each month.
- Women are forced to watch as family members are kidnapped and killed.
- According to public health researcher Amber Peterman, it is estimated that 1152 women are raped in the DRC every day. That’s four, every 5 minutes. That means that there are already over three million rapes in the Congo. (Link here to her official report, If Numbers Could Scream.)
- Yes, this is happening RIGHT NOW.
- YOU can do something about it.
Below are some resources that may help you to learn more about the crisis in the Congo, and what we can do to help.
- Women in Congo – Weapons of War (as seen on 60 Minutes, short version)
- I am Congo – Amazing lives in a place the world has left for dead.
- Join Me on the Bridge 2010 (as seen at the Women for Women International Gala)
- An American in Congo – NY Times
- Run for Congo Women (Lisa Shannon)
- War Against Women – Anderson Cooper 60 minutes (full segment)
- Zainab Salbi (founder of Women for Women Intl) speaks of the Congo on the Today Show
- Lisa Shannon (founder of Run for Congo Women) visits the Congo (as seen on Oprah)
- A Thousand Sisters
- Conflict Minerals basics
Articles and Information:
- Congo Women Speak Out Against Rape
- UN: Wartime Rape is No More Inevitable or Acceptable than Mass Murder
- War Against Women: The Use of Rape as a Weapon in Congo’s Civil War
- Run For Congo Women
- A Thousand Sisters
- Women for Women International: Women as Weapons of War
- Systemic Rape Threatens the Congo
- Finding the Best in the Worst Circumstances
What Yoga for Congo Women will do:
100% of the proceeds of this event (i.e., all funds gathered from registration fees, donations, sponsors, etc., minus the cost of putting on the event) will go to sponsoring Congolese women through Women for Women International’s Congo program.
The women sponsored through this event will enter a one-year program through Women for Women, which will include rights awareness training, literacy and skills training, food, medicine, and clothing, as well as emotional assistance to recover and heal from the atrocities they have experienced. Upon completion of the program, they will receive seed money to begin their own small businesses, so that they may continue to sustain themselves and their families.
This program could literally change and save their lives, and the lives of their children. To learn more about the program that Women for Women provides for these women, visit the Women for Women website.
What is Women for Women International?