DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- The African nation of Congo has been called the worst place on earth to be a woman. A new study released Wednesday shows that it's even worse than previously thought: 1,152 women are raped every day, a rate equal to 48 per hour.(via The Grio)
That rate is 26 times more than the previous estimate of 16,000 rapes reported in one year by the United Nations.
The woman in the picture above was raped in 2003 by soldier who killed her husband and her two children. My heart couldn't break anymore for her if it wanted to.
I've been following the crisis in the Congo for several years now, and have tried to bring attention to it in my circle. I want to do more, but don't know where to begin. It's like trying to climb Mount Everest. It certainly would help if we paid more attention to this crisis, but it seems like the world, like it did with Rwanda, has turned its back on the women of Congo.
Do we really need to explain why? This is an African country. Pervasive ideas about African countries run deep and long. In one way, it seems like because the Western world believes that corruption and degeneracy are synonymous with Africa, they are prepared to do nothing. Yet, these are women. And our backs are still turned.
If this were a European country, would this still be going on? Would the daily rape of over a thousand women and girls be ignored if this were Germany or even a poorer European country? Would we ignore it if this were happening in Beverly Hills?
News about the situation in the Congo is a minor blip on a ticker at best. It is largely ignored. The message is clear to these women, though. For the most part, no one gives a damn that this depravity, this assault on the innocent is going on in Africa. These women have the misfortune of not only living in the Congo, but being born black and in poverty. They have three strikes against them, and yet we are prepared to do nothing. What's equally frustrating is the feminist establishment is not speaking up about this enough, as they are more preoccupied only with domestic problems. However, the power of feminists and womanists also lies in their ability to act outside of problems "at home" but to be activists for women all over the world.
We have the power as people of color to bring attention to this crisis. We can call our representatives and ask for whatever assistance possible. We can even call Hillary Clinton. I know I've called before, specifically regarding the situation in the Sudan.
Imagine that every woman in your life was or would be raped today or tomorrow, maybe several days, or even several months. Would you sit back and watch if you had the power to do something?