Thursday, March 18, 2010

What Got To Me Today Series: Law & Order writers open eyes to Women of Congo

It is impossible to look at the above photo and not feel something for this woman, her child on her back, running for her life.  Not only does she run from an explosion, from war, but most certainly she is running in fear from the rebels themselves, who did the bombing.  She is running because she knows what they will do to her and her child when they catch her. This woman and millions like her are running everyday, today, right now.  Appallingly, most people don't  know about them because the violence facing these women is too horrific to even think about. But thanks to some excellent women writers of Law & Order SVU, millions of Americans got a glimpse last night.

Most people, at one time or another, have caught an episode or two of Law & Order or one of it's spin-offs, either Special Victims Unit or Criminal Intent.  If you are familiar with Law & Order, you know they often pull their story lines right from current headlines, whether it's a big Supreme Court decision or some sultry sex scandal. They always twist it up a bit, so we don't know the outcome, but surely we are familiar with the content.

Last night, the writers of Law & Order SVU did something extraordinary.  Writers Christina M. Torres and Dawn DeNoon took an episode entitled "Witness", and used it to open mainstream eyes to the ongoing, mind blowing atrocities facing the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  I'm sure there are some viewers who know about the conflict going on in Congo, but I bet millions do not.  I am giving some serious kudos to Ms. Torres and  Ms. DeNoon for bringing such important subject matter to mainstream America.

Conflict in Congo between  Rwandan-Congolese joint military operations and Rwandan Hutu Rebels is ongoing.  Women and children are used as objects of war, subject to torture, mutilation and sexual violence. Often these acts are commited in front of the women's husbands and family. Once attacked, a woman is considered to bring shame on her family and she is outcast.  Some women die, some run to the jungle and try and find camps for survival.  Camps are often also raided by rebels, unable to give protection to the women and they are attacked all over again.

I feel very strongly about these women, and the attempts to bring awareness to them and their plight. Thank you to the writers for bringing this headline back into the limelight.  There are many organizations trying to help these women.  Three of my top favorites are, and  Please visit these websites to learn more about these women, our sisters.  See photos and read more about what goes on in their lives and how you can help them.  With the current economy, financial support is difficult, however there is one bigger thing we can do to help and that is to raise awareness.  Ms. Torres and Ms. DeNoon did just that, and you can too. Thank you.

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