I went to dinner recently with a law student whose parents are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As we ate and shared, I tried to recall everything I had read about the DR Congo on BBC's website or in history textbooks. But my mind blanked.
What year did Zaire become the DR Congo? When did they gain their independence? And did their stint with Marxism-Leninism ever end?
The next morning, as coffee brewed, I decided to reeducate myself on the DR Congo's history, people, and beautiful terrains. My first questions were close to home. "If I were a Congolese woman, what would my life be like? What are their standards of beauty, roles in the home, recent accomplishments?"
As I typed "Congolese women" in my browser, I assumed the search would yield websites on their literature, political developments, and colorful printed fabrics.
Instead, page after page was all about rape. War crimes. FDLR rebels (a remnant of Hutu forces) systematically destroying the reproductive capabilities of women. A 13-year-old girl tied to a tree and raped by passing soldiers for several days at a time. Besides a few charity efforts, few websites actually celebrated Congolese women; one article celebrated a doctor for his reconstructive surgeries of them.
Gaping in disbelief, I then Googled "American women." Immediately, links to songs, literature, "famous firsts" of American women, and women-only fitness centers popped up. Most links celebrated their beauty and strength.
The difference between my two searches couldn't have been more drastic.
The results grieved me for days.
Since then, the violence in DR Congo has continued. Yesterday, the United Nations reported that some 500 Congolese women, girls, and babies have been raped since late July.
In response, ...1
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