Mike sent me a comment on the blog I posted recently—Eve Ensler’s powerful Huffington Post article about what’s being done to women in Eastern Congo. He wanted to knowhow men could do such things. I decided to make my answer to him a blog for all my readers:

Thanks for asking this question, Mike, it’s a central one and complex. The men who are raping and mutilating the women and girls (and babies!!!) in eastern Congo have been turned into crazed, maniacal killers by the genocidal war in Rwanda. Maybe you saw “Hotel Rwanda” which was about that war. This is not to excuse what they have become and there are other factors as well. Do remember that in some parts of the world, girls can be purchased for less than a cow. Women and girls, in the most extreme patriarchal cultures, have no power, no respect and are seen as sub human. A documentary about this situation said that some of these men believe if they rape women their families will be protected; if they rub certain oils on themselves bullets cannot hurt them. They are crazed and sick and beyond redemption and there MUST be consequences. Right now there are none, as Eve’s Huffington Post so powerfully exposed. city of joy click for more infoEve just wrote me that those who want to do something to help should go onto the V-DAY website and hit the registry for “City of Joy.” She will have a piece coming out monday that will have specifics about what to do. City of Joy, by the way, is a “city” that V-Day, in partnership with UNICEF, is building. The women there are doing the construction and Eve says they sing and dance with joy because they know someone is paying attention, someone is trying to help, not just showing up, handing out cards, making promises and never being heard from again. The “city” was designed by a Chicago architect where 100 women can come when they leave the hospital (to make room for the hundreds more that continue to pour in.) There, they can be cleaned, can heal their bodies, can receive emotional therapy, can earn job skills and can move from victimhood to being warriors for non-violence—as Eve likes to say. And I’ve seen it happen. It CAN happen. Thanks for your concern and for trying to help.

Thanks to any and all of you who want to help. It’s what gives life meaning—to know you are making a difference.

See you next time.

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  1. I passed this along immediately. Thank you so much, Ms. Fonda, for bringing light to the horrors occurring in DRC right now.

  2. Thanks for writing this! We all need to be more aware about what’s happening in the Congo and other areas of Africa!

  3. Being a Artist media educator and international business specialist, I do still feel that film is one of the most important way to make a statement . The Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF), America’s largest and most prestigious Black film and arts festival.
    But has not got the interest form the Hollywood film community when film dealing with important subjects even a “Hotel Rwanda” was made for class Exception. The everyday human right issues are in many African films and The Pan African Film and Arts Festival . I would be sure if someone like a Jane Fonda would show up to a screening of a film dealing with this subject would make news and interest . This years PAFF is in February
    http://www.paff.org/ and I think you can get a senior pass Jane,PAFF will take place February 10-15, 2010 in Los Angeles.

  4. Have you ever read “Left to Tell” by Immaculee Iligaziba? She is a Rwandan genocide survivor. Most all her family, relatives, and friends were slaughtered in the genocide. She was able to make it to a minister friend’s house, and he hid Immaculee and seven other women in a bathroom, 3’x4′, for three months. They weren’t allowed to make any noise as the Hutu were looking for them every day and coming in the house. The minister pushed a dresser in front of the door and passed them food when he could. (His own family didn’t know they were there.) When she went in, she weighed 115 pounds; when she came out, she weighed 65. When the French came to offer the survivors refuge, the women were able to make it to the camp. Immaculee is now married, has children, and lives in New York working for the U.N. What’s even more amazing is that she was able to FORGIVE those who killed her family! When I think I’m having it rough, I think of Immaculee and what she went through, and I count my blessings.

  5. Dear Jane,

    I had no idea just how horrible life was for women living in the Eastern Congo. It sickened me to read the details that you wrote about and what these women,young girls,children have to go through every single day. We sometimes take for granted just how fortunate we are to live in this country.

    I read about “what to do” and I felt very compelled to help by sending a donation to the “City of Joy”. I only wish that there was more that I could do.

    Thanks for making me aware of this.

    Sincerely, Melissa

  6. These horrible things have been going on for so long….why isn’t the UN involved in some kind of help???? Why does the UN never take a stand to help these poor people? Why is there not an out pouring of attention and help from all the civilized countries all over the world?
    We are more worried about our own internal politics, etc……that no country will take a stand to stop this? I hate to think that the entire world of nations has lost all sense of humanity? This is ridiculous that we allow this to continue!
    I pray for our world…..and an end to the villains who create these problems…and the rest of the world….that allows it to continue!
    It makes me sick.
    Thank you Jane….for drawing attention to this matter….again….it has been going on so long now…..I hope your words and actions can help to make a difference.
    You are my hero!
    James Adams
    A loyal fan!

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