The Washington Times today rolled out an impressive, full-page cover story under the headline Rape as a Tool of War: Congo’s Greatest Shame. The story is part of the paper’s week-long series titled “The Lost Story of the Lost Continent: How Rape Is Used as a Tool of War in Congo,” which will feature reporting by the Times’ U.N. correspondent Betsy Pisik and photojournalist Mary Calvert, who recently spent six weeks in eastern Congo.
Today’s installment includes the cover story, a two-part video, a background story that pulls in some historical details to explain the current violence, a report about Secretary of State Clinton’s recent trip to the region, and a piece by Gus Constantine about the role that conflict minerals play in fueling sexual violence in the region.
The exposure to the conflict in Congo is excellent, but I fear that the tone used to describe what is happening to women, girls, and men in Congo may leave readers feeling hopeless about a seemingly intractable conflict half a world away. But before succumbing to the conclusion that all is lost, take a look at what a growing movement of Congo activists is doing to highlight the promising work being done by local Congolese organizations and to raise awareness among consumers about the role our electronics purchases play in fueling sexual violence and perpetuating the conflict in Congo.
Photo: A woman who survived sexual violence rests at a safe house in eastern Congo. Enough/R. Feeley