Richard Mosse for V-Day
Even with the City of Joy open and operating in the Congo, women continue to be abused at the hands of power-driven men. Check this video out for the untold stories of these girls and women: The Greatest Silence.
I wrote a short blurb for a photo essay last year bearing a lighter note, but the severity of the situation remains.
Here is that photo essay celebrating a step in the right direction, but not nearly the end of this war against women. (published in Excalibur March 2011)
On Feb. 4, 2011, women of the Democratic Republic of Congo danced and sang at the opening celebration of Bukavu’s City of Joy.
Jurate Kazickas of Women’s eNews quotes Eve Ensler, Vagina Monologues playwright and V-Day founder, in explaining the initiative’s potential: “The City of Joy will be a gathering place for the women to find their voices, their vision and their power. And when the women find their power, all of the Congo will change.”
For 13 years, over 500,000 Congolese women have been subjected to rape, kidnapping and forced prostitution. The survivors of these atrocities continue to be shunned in their communities as a result of the stigma attached to rape victims.
The City of Joy creates a safe haven where women can find privacy, therapeutic council and education, and can learn life-skills that will allow them to cultivate their voices rather than have them stifled. Donning black t-shirts that read “Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource,” women establish their worth and unyielding spirit.
Though United Nation peacekeepers have entered the area, their presence has failed to prompt dramatic social change. When asked how to begin amending these deeply-rooted injustices in the Congo, Ensler responded, “You build an army of women.”
HollerDay! powered by Journalists for Human Rights - video
Hope in the City of Joy by Charlize Theron for Huffington Post
Visit City of Joy - V-Day Congo campaign page for lots more info.