On computer screens thousands of miles away from one another, some of the world’s leading feminist figures joined in solidarity with women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the country’s first-ever women’s summit on September 14.
On Tuesday, Gloria Steinem, who originated WMC’s Women Under Siege, spoke to BBC “Hardtalk” presenter Stephen Sackur about the women’s movement. But I wanted to do more than point you to the video (which you can watch here) and highlight something I found particularly interesting about their chat.
Every few years, my consistently intrepid mother would experience terrifying nightmares. When I was 7, I asked her to tell me what monster was frightening her so much that she stirred and let out petrifying screams in her sleep.
Gangs of young men rape girls. They also sometimes act as pimps that seduce a girl, then subject her to gang rape or otherwise insist that she sexually service gang members. Some girls are so desperate for acceptance and so convinced by sexual abuse that they have no other value: they see this as inevitable.
It doesn’t matter where you look; sexualized violence is intrinsic to conflict. From Darfur to Libya to Guatemala, hundreds of thousands of women are suffering the its fallout, which has torn apart their bodies, their families, and their communities. As the director of Women Under Siege, I interviewed Steinem about what needs to be done to understand and stop it.