The Rape That Goes Silent

I work, both professionally and otherwise, in a field of advocacy; yet, when I have an opportunity at work to network with people of other agencies in different capacities, as a social butterfly and generally nosy investigative person, I do so. I’m also one of those do-gooders who believes in being kind to people, as you never know what they have on their minds or in their experiences that could be plaguing them.

I say all this, in essence, to tell a short story:

I was at work a few days ago, and jokingly commented to a young, high ranking security officer in my building that he looked tired. He came and sat next to me in a chair and explained that he had been up late, reading the news online, and that he did not even remember getting in bed last night. He smiled one of those smiles where, even though we only knew each other on the ‘hi and bye’, you knew it was feigned. Like he wanted to smile because he was a friendly person in general, but deep down something was wrong; he then began to reveal that he often has trouble sleeping. You see, he is from The Congo and is rightfully, righteously obsessed with international news since his family and friends are still in the area.

His eyes got very sad as he both sadly and quietly told me that 50 women are raped every hour in The Congo, and that no one says anything about it. That CNN doesn’t report these things until someone makes a documentary on HBO about it because it doesn’t benefit them to report so he searches current events on several other news sites, as he speaks five different languages. That women and young girls are often raped, gang raped, by the government and rebel, in front of their children and then – as if this is not brutal enough – shot to death in the head, all over their bodies, in their genitals, and regarded as nothing. This has been occurring for decades and we, humans in general, do nothing.

From the HBO Documentary “The Greatest Silence: Rape in The Congo”

Though this was his major pain, he also spoke in depth about the minerals in The Congo and other parts of the Continent that the major powers of the world have a hand in, and how the US is indebted to these regions; and yet, they continue to essentially steal from these regions and render them helpless and without resources. As a result of the conflict over Africa’s resources, the Africans kill each other.

I don’t profess to be as sharp about international affairs as I should be; one of my best friends is from Somalia and my desire to grow more informed about policy sparked in the initial phases of our friendship years ago. My conversation with my colleague from DRC affected me. I suppose I do not have any solutions or a formal proposal. I don’t know that I could have affected readers that way that my colleague’s anguish moved me days ago.

My hope is to increase awareness and to provide resources:

Women for Women International
The IRC in Democratic Republic of Congo
Human Rights Watch – Congo
Panzi Hospital of Bukavu

More resources.