The XX Factor

Rape and the Congo

Mary Lou Hartman, a documentary filmmaker, had a compelling piece in the Washington Post this weekend about how her own rape a few years ago has propelled her to activism on behalf of women in the Congo, where violating women’s bodies in the most horrifying ways is a daily atrocity. The war in Congo has been going on for years, largely under the radar of the rest of the world. Hartman and a story in today’s New York Times describe the daily maiming of body and psyche Congolese women are enduring. It is courageous of Hartman to expose her own trauma and use it to help these forgotten women. Her op-ed recommends action we can talk to keep Congolese criminals from profiting from selling stolen minerals and groups we can support to help women heal. This time of year particularly we should be grateful that women’s struggles in the West are not about our bodies as a tool of war.