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City of Joy to Hold Opening Celebration today in Bukavu, DRC

February 4, 2011

It’s finally happened! Today the City of Joy is opening in Bukavu DRC.  It “will provide up to 180 Congolese women a year with an opportunity to benefit from group therapy; self-defense training; comprehensive sexuality education (covering HIV/AIDS, family planning); economic empowerment; storytelling; dance; theater; ecology and horticulture. Created from their vision, Congolese women will run, operate and direct City of Joy themselves.”

We reported on the issue of sexual violence in the Congo last year and the violence has not stopped. The Democratic Republic of Congo has been given the unfortunate title of “rape capital of the world” and CNN reports that 15,000 women were raped in eastern Congo in 2009. Globally, sexual violence is an ongoing tactic of war, and a frequent tactic in the Congo.

The opening is a huge victory. The fact that it was envisioned by the women of the Congo, and self operated is an incredible achievement. It’s also feels wonderful to know that this opening was an achievement supported by a community of women globally. In 2009 and 2010, STOP RAPING OUR GREATEST RESOURCE: Power to the Women and Girls of the DRC, was the spotlight campaign for V-Day. I feel honored to have worked alongside nko as an advocacy director for Carleton’s V-Day last year, as women from Carleton performed the Vagina Monologues to support both our community and the women of the Congo. It’s wonderful to feel this connection to a global community of women, and to know how many people were involved in helping this center open.

This year’s V-Day is coming up! And I’m sure there’s still time to get involved. The spotlight is on Women and Girls of Haiti. There are now 1,300 refugee camps across Haiti, and Refugees International report that cases of rape and abortions performed on children as young as 10 years old have tripled in Haiti since January 2009. Find a V-Day event near you to learn more about how you can support the campaign.

And Carleton folks, please update us on V-Day 2011 at Carleton! I’m sure our campus is rallying together again to create an incredible V-Week.

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