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Jewish World Watch Tackles “Feminicide” with CONGO NOW!
Written by Lisa Rosenblatt, New Leaders Project Co-Chair
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I went to a private girl’s school where I learned to empower myself in a man’s world. Teachers taught us about the Holocaust and how we must never let it happen again, as if genocide were something of the past. I lived in a bubble.
Last Wednesday night that bubble burst.
Naama Haviv of Jewish World Watch spoke to Federation's New Leaders Project Alumni Group about JWW's CONGO NOW! project, and related her personal experience of traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and coming face to face with the atrocities that claim the lives of so many people there.
Naama began her presentation with photos of this gorgeous place. Congo is often referred to as “Hawaii on steroids” because of its rich soil, beautiful vistas and warm climate. But behind this serene façade, a war is being waged against the country's most vulnerable citizens.
Women are the center of community in Congo. So the military is utilizing systematic rape to subdue and destroy Congolese society. Women are gang-raped (often with objects and weapons), sterilized, beaten, and broken. The news was shocking, but my heart sank when when Naama revealed that children as young as 3-months-old suffer this type of abuse. I have nieces who are 5 ½ and 3-years-old.
I cannot just sit idly by. I know I must do anything, and everything, I can to help the DRC. I'm going to start by having someone from Jewish World Watch speak at my synagogue about "feminicide" that's taking place in Congo and I suggest you do the same. We must first expose these atrocities if we're ever going to put end end to them.
I'm thankful to The Jewish Federation, and specifically the New Leaders Project, for introducing me to organizations like Jewish World Watch where I can make a difference. Since 1945 there have been 46 genocides and politicides in the world. We say “Never Again,” but it's happening again and again. Let’s all make sure we stand by our words.
Find out more:
Brush up on Congolese history.
Learn about Jewish World Watch's CONGO NOW! program.
Watch an interview with "Renee," a victim of military violence
Read Human Rights Watch’s report on rape by the Congolese Army.
Part 1 of the CONGO NOW! webseries (above) was produced for Jewish World Watch by Reason Media Group