Thursday, October 7, 2010
In the space of just six nightmarish days, July 30-Aug. 4, a reported 500 women were raped in the Congo by Rwandan and Congolese rebels.
Larry Levine of Monterey’s United Nations Association saw it as one of the latest examples of how rape is used as a tool of war.
On Wednesday, Oct. 13, in light of recent events in the Congo, the U.N. group is hosting a presentation in Monterey on wartime sexual violence against women.
Among the speakers is Lisa Shannon, the Portland-based founder of Run for Congo Women and author of A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman.
“Rape cuts to the heart of society,” she says. “It is an act of battle being played out on a woman’s body, and it works to systematically destroy the spirit of a community.”
Levine hopes the U.N. event will inspire others to take action. “We want to talk about what can be done to serve the women who are being impacted,” he says.
The Monterey Rape Crisis Center is collaborating on the event.
“We live in a global community, and events that happen abroad affect us on a local level,” says Nina Alcaraz, the center’s deputy director. “In the U.S., one in three women are raped. Violent acts of power and control happen in the Congo and in Monterey County.”