Eve Ensler’s List of What To Do For the Congo

From the Huffington Post:
Ten Radical Acts for Congo in the New Year
by Eve Ensler

Having just been in the Congo for the last month, it is evident that the more than 12-year economic war in the Democratic Republic of Congo rages on. Almost 6 million dead. Almost 500 thousand raped. Here is what I propose:

1. Please stop endlessly repeating these phrases:

• “The Congo has been like this forever.”

• “There is nothing we can do.”

• “It’s too complicated. I just don’t understand.”

• “It’s a cultural thing.”

A. Violence against women and girls is rampant across the entire planet.

B. Sexual terrorism was imported into the DRC like a plague about 12 years ago years ago, after a 1996 military operation know as Operation Turquoise — a plan supported and implemented by the international community which allowed murdering Hutu militias of Rwanda (FDLR) into Eastern Congo. Since then, this sexual terrorism has been sustained by these and other parties interested in the minerals, (coltan, gold, tin), that are serving you. Like a plague, this rape and sexual violence has spread infecting the Congolese Army and even the UN peacekeepers who are there to “protect” the women. Put pressure on the international community to remove all outside militias. They brought them there, they are responsible for getting them out.

2. Stop asking women survivors in the Congo to tell their stories over and over

A woman activist told me yesterday they were going to shut up now.
“There is no reason to keep telling the story or paying expats lots of money
to research the story of women and girls in the Congo. We all know the story.”

Visit these sites:
Read the latest U.N. human rights reports from the NYT
Friends of Congo
Read the recent Human Rights Watch reports
Read the history

We know what is happening in the DRC. Now is the time for action.

3. Deconstruct and abolish subterranean and learned racism

Deconstruct and abolish subterranean and learned racism that lies at the bedrock of human consciousness and arranges and expects and accepts the doom of black and brown people. Undo the brutal and evil indifference to the suffering of the people of Congo, the women in particular.

4. Shoes, shoes, shoes, for everyone who needs them

5. Insist on support for thousands of trained Congolese women police officers

Insist on support for thousands of trained Congolese women police officers who can protect their sisters in the bush. Don’t let Security Council resolutions 1820 and 1325 continue to be random insider numbers UN policy bureaucrats refer to when they are trying to prove they are doing something about sexual violence. Insist they be resolutions with grit that get applied regularly with sincerity and substance. Begin application by insisting that the UN not collaborate with rapists and former warlords in military operations.

Write to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ask her to allocate funding for a women’s police force in the Congo:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
US Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

6. Serve the Congolese and take their lead

Support their initiatives. Get out of the way. Support the local groups and campaigns that already exist, that have existed. They need your support to continue to exist. Fight to make sure the money headed for Eastern Congo actually gets to the women on the ground – the grassroots groups who need it most. Believe in grassroots women and men. Send them your confidence, your solidarity, and your money.

Give to V-Day’s Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource campaign as it continues to support local groups on the ground like AFEM, the South Kivu Women’s Media Association, Panzi Hospital in Bukavu and Heal Africa Hospital in Goma, women’s collectives like I Will Not Kill Myself Today and AFECOD, and the Women’s Ministry and Laissez l’Afrique Vivre.

Click here to donate.

7. Tell President Obama to step up to femicide

Insist that as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, President Obama ask questions about the history of the conflict in the Congo. Ask him to find out how and when this war began. Ask him to put his attention to what’s happening to the women in the Congo, to femicide — the destruction of the female species that is spreading to other countries and will continue to spread if he, himself does not make this a front and center issue. The Congo needs to be more than a phrase reference in one of his speeches. He needs to come to the Congo. He needs to meet the women and bring them to the table with himself and leaders of Rwanda and Uganda and Burundi. He needs to help facilitate a diplomatic plan for peace that does not involve more violence.

Write to President Obama and ask him to make finding a non-military solution to the war in Congo a priority in his foreign policy agenda.

8. Acknowledge what’s fueling this war and your part in it

Educate yourself about how conflict minerals are illegally and inhumanely pillaged from the Congo and make their way into your cell phones and the computer you are using to read this post right now. Demand that electronics companies alter their mining and trade policies so that conflict-free minerals are used in our electronics. Until this happens, we all literally have blood on our hands.

Investigate where and how your electronics companies are purchasing their materials. As a consumer, demand that they use conflict-free minerals in their parts.

9. Talk about the Congo everywhere you go

Be a pain in the ass. Ruin cocktail parties. Stop traffic. Give sermons. Insert facts about Congo in every possible occasion, i.e., in response to “How are you today?,” you might say: “Well, I would be okay if women weren’t being raped in the DRC….”

Host teach-ins and screen V-Day’s film Turning Pain to Power. Visit vday.org to access both.

10. Get angry and stop being polite

Feel what your sister, mother, grandmother, daughter, wife, girlfriend would be feeling if she were being gang raped or held as a sex slave for years or if her insides were destroyed by sticks and guns and she could never have another baby.

Feel feel feel.

Open yourself to feeling.

Eve Ensler, a playwright and activist, is the founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls.


Share This Post
  1. A poem I wrote some time back …..it about beng numb to life .this was a real event one day it did happen in real life.

    MP3 by Timothy Dougherty

    Player tell me

    young boy in Africa

    hand cut off

    Side walk a work of Art

    a crack here there thither

    a tree resembles mahogany

    or not

    The player

    with ear buds my ears

    than thy cut off his arm

    why would thy stencil angel

    more Art

    Cracks gray uplifted slabs

    more stencils a gun white

    and then they cut off his feet

    The player remind

    a girl

    Black hair around nineteen

    maybe twenty alone

    a cough exhale


    No stencils the sidewalk

    is Art

    Gray or grayish? grayness

    cracks are never the same


    The player my ears

    and then they through him

    in to the toilet

    program ends

    Gray cracks trash

    move to grass

    the player new program

  2. thanks jane for all those links to make people react on congo’s women sufferings: with you people are feeling involve, and as you said being humanitarian, that’s make all the difference! frederique dhenein

  3. pretty good plan for a liberal. just add 1 more thing. stop ninnying around. lets talk about who ultimately benefits from endless conflict all over the world. jane fonda and eve ensler show up to the next bilderberg meeting in june with bullhorns and help expose these puppeteers to the world once and for all. stop validating puppet presidents by publicly clamoring to them for help in your cause when you know damn well that they serve the very money changers who are behind all of these messes. doesn’t matter how many fires you put out if you don’t catch the fire-starter. ms. fonda should know, she’s been trying to put out these fires for 30 years.

    • You are correct, but what’s needed is to build power from the bottom We, thepeopl, have to make so much noise that they can’t fford not to deal with the issue(s).

  4. Jane-
    Keep this coming….People… we can do something. As small as it seems….letters, calls, blogs, our own money….Our voices will be heard….their voices will be heard. Find out where your products come from….boycott if you have to….Our voices will be heard. If we do nothing….If we say nothing….no one will hear anything. There is a lot coming at us these days….but one small act of conscience for another human being can change a life….and more than likely your own.

    Pray For Peace!

  5. I have to say. There is not much that separates the United States from this. Maybe education and a little progress. But rape is a SERIOUS problem in the United States that no one still wants to take on. We still ignore it here, are shamed by it, don’t report it, shove it under the rug.

    In California recently a number of boys at a school repeatedly raped a young girl. It is when these young men get into groups that they forget they are educated with morals that were firmly placed by their parents and live in a country, on a planet forcryingoutloud, where this is ILLEGAL, and immoral. The mob mentality is rampant over this entire planet.

    Young men will be the death of this planet until women take the power they have and use it, and men take their own and make them civilized human beings with consequenses to their actions from OTHER men.

    FEEL??? I’ve felt for years that it sucks that it is unsafe in my own country to walk at night alone – ever. That I can not shop alone, ride my motorcycle alone, or do many other things alone. I am just as afraid of being attacked by someone while I am alone than any woman on this planet. I am a survivor of a home invasion. Once this has happened to you, you don’t feel safe anywhere on this planet…NOT ANYWHERE. There’s some feel for you. I’ve been mad as hell for years – I’ve been in my legislators faces, I’ve helped get stalking laws passed, I’ve been a hide-a-way for women. I’ve seen it up close and personal. I saw my next door neighbor cowering in the corner of her living room with her baby while her husband who was suppose to love and protect her was going to put a fist right upside her head before I came in. I remember feeling a blast whiz past us as we ran for my house.

    I feel, and I’ve been angry for most of my life at the behavior of human beings. You can ask anyone that knows me if I am shy about this subject. It will be written on my forehead until I die.

    I once did everything legally possible in my power to keep a madman away from me. When I was told I was to keep away from HIM by a stupid judge, that did it for me. It did not stop. I had to leave my family, my home, my job, my state. I eventually came back and he found me again. It only stopped when one day he went to a dentist in Mexico and the anisthesia reacted in a way to stop his heart. Was I glad to hear that news? I went and pissed on his grave. There’s some feel for you.

    Yea – I want the madness stopped, I’ve told everyone in my path all my life, and will do so forever. It will not happen in my lifetime, but I just know sometime, human beings will be kind to one another and peace will be on this earth. Humans inhumanity to humans will NOT win. It will not.

  6. Dear Jane,

    Thank you for reminding me about the violence against women in the Congo. I will become involved, somehow. Today, as I sat in the kitchen talking with my mother, we discussed all the locations around the world where women are in danger simply for being female. It’s nauseating.


    Terri B

  7. Wow! This has touched me tremendously! I have not been able to sleep without these women being on my mind constantly. I am committing myself to doing everyone of these tips starting today. Lets join hands ladies and fight for these women who are counting on us. Think of it as if it were your daughters or mothers being held as sex slave hostages…how hard would you fight then?

  8. I wish more people learn that injustice occurs not only in their own backyard, but in the world around them. I feel that we get so specific with our activism sometimes (not referring to you personally Miss Fonda, you are certainly an aware citizen of the world), that we lose sight of what is right and wrong in this world and how much we could help.

  9. If people have lived for centuries without shoes, what is the importance of their having shoes now?

    Where do we send shoes or money for shoes?

    If we send money to a charity to distribute shoes, how do we know that the right people will get them?

    Food was sent to Africa in the past that was allowed to rot on the docks. How do we know this will not happen again?

    • Catherine, I do not understand the question about shoes. I am unaware of anyone asking fo shoes to be sent. PLease clarify. xx

  10. Hey Jane! If we all think back a few years to the diamond industry, I think we will remember when we realized the unbelievable range of horrible effects inflicted upon fellow human beings, all because people wanted diamonds. Diamonds. An innocent enough product, until the truth got out about what was happening to the miners themselves. That was a terrible situation that GOT BETTER because people opposed to the mistreatment of fellow humans stood up and refused to NOT be heard. Lo and behold, “blood diamonds” became a socially repugnant scourge on the world’s collective conscience. The travesty of the abuse and abasement of women worldwide demands an even louder and more persistant outcry from those who recognize the inherent value of each human being.

  11. i don’t have any problems with owning blood diamonds

Leave a Reply