At an anti-genocide conference in Washington, D.C., in a seminar called "Sexual Gender-Based Violence: Rape as a Weapon of War in Congo," I sat next to one of my former students, now a college freshman dedicated to human rights activism. That's when I passed this young woman a note. I wrote, "What is a traumatic fistula?"
After she realized that I really did not know, she wrote back: "In women, when raped at a young age and/or get pregnant, their under-developed urethra is torn, causing them to lose control of their bladder and can cause infection in the womb."
Women and girls, some younger than my high school students, are gang-raped by rebel or even government soldiers in the mining areas of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, as these vicious armies fight for territory to control the mines that feed our electronics.
Three more senators, Robert Casey (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Tim Johnson (D-SD) signed on to the Congo Conflict Minerals Act 2009 (S. 891) over the holidays, solidifying 14 co-sponsors for this bipartisan bill introduced in April. Read More »
Congo’s mineral wealth continues to play a central role in the country’s conflict dynamics. Despite the upsurge in displacement and atrocities during 2009, multinational companies continue to purchase minerals from the war zone.