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What about the rest of us?

I was outraged in reading the New York Times on Monday by the story of the gang-raping of at least 200 women in Luvungi in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One was an 80 year-old grandmother. The United Nations Peacekeeping Forces were in a nearby town and failed to offer protection. I am not sure how anyone can read that story and not be moved to action. The use of rape as an instrument of war is unacceptable! While the United Nations is being criticized – what about the rest of us? Why do we expect so little from men? What can be the role of Western women to respond to this outrageous treatment of women? Why aren’t men everywhere coming together to protect innocent women? Is it time for women to become the largest peacekeeping force in the world?

Creating change on the treatment and subjugation of women is a complicated journey with hope on the horizon. Women are stepping forward into their leadership everywhere, telling their stories and creating a new reality. It is what Margaret Wheatley says is the only good news of this century. It’s just that it isn’t enough. We need to accelerate the peace movement, the sustainability movement, the education movement, etc. We can use World Pulse as a platform to expose the abuse of women while at the same time illuminating the new possibilities for a fair and just civil society. We can use World Pulse to do what my colleague Christina Baldwin invites us to do -“to ask for what we need and offer what we can.” We can create an on-line global community that actualizes what Monica Sharma, M.D., former Director of Leadership and Capacity Development at the United Nations, calls mutual reciprocity. We can create the conditions where helping the women in the Congo is a path to our own humanity and wholeness. We can pair our need to share our wealth (material or spiritual) with what is needed in our local or global economy. We can export ideas and amplify the vision of the Pachamama Alliance to contribute to “the creation of a new global vision of equity and sustainability for all.” We can use web-based tools to actualize the soul of World Pulse to “let us be the loudspeaker for women of the world.”

It is our time as women to name it, call it, create it, do it, be it. We need to overcome our fear, our hesitancy. We don’t need permission and we don’t need anyone to give anything to us. It is available to us right now. We just need to step into it. Don’t you hear the call to create a fair and just world that honors the earth, its creatures and all of humanity? What if we were to go outside one day, together, visible as one community of women and said enough is enough – it’s our turn. We would not gang-rape an 80 year old grandmother – I can guarantee that.

Comments

Dear Nancy,

I appreciate your outrage and call out to take action and mobilize the women and men to stop the violence against women in the Congo and our communities. Violence against women occurs daily and it is not acceptable. As you stated, "let us be the loudspeaker for women of the world" and move into action to stop the violence. Yes, world pulse can be a powerful vehicle to give voice and unify our resources and support.

Love to hear about the action you are involved with in your community to create the change. Thank you for leading the way!

I saw the powerful play "RUINED" which portrays the horrific reality of the violence faced by our Congolese sisters and their amazing strength. The play called for action, raised awareness and funds to support the women in the Congo. Here are a few organizations which provide support and action: 1) Raise Hope for Congo (www.raisehopeforcongo.org), 2) UN Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict (www.stoprapenow.org), 3) Women for Women (www.womenforwomen.org), 4) Enough Project (www.enoughproject.org), 5) Peace Women Project: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (www.peacewomen.org).

With gratitude,

Linda Ando

With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

jenchapin's picture

Hi Nancy, thank you for

Hi Nancy, thank you for bringing that story to my attention; I was unaware of it but am equally horrified by it. You make a great point about the fact that these issues are man-made and man-created and would not occur if there were women in more positions of authority(I long for that day!). I can't wait to read more!

judyschiller's picture

How inspirational!

Hi, Nancy,
I, too, must admit, that I didn't hear about this story, and I'm also mortified by it. I was, however, very inspired by your cry to action, and that it's time to overcome our fears and hesitancy to do what is needed. I wish more people agreed with you (and me) that we don't "need permission" from anyone to do what is right [my words, I realize].

You are a fantastic writer, and I find your writing very powerful and motivating! It's nice to feel that I'm "not alone" in my ideas, and that's the beauty of World Pulse/Pulse Wire, and web 2.0.

Keep up the superb work!

Judy

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