Dear Mrs. Obama,
A couple of weeks ago, 600 Congolese women were expelled from Angola and, while being repatriated, were forced to take a detour by way of some derelict buildings where they were kept prisoners for days, repeatedly gang raped and then forced to cross the border with not a stitch of clothing on their backs.
I am sure you are aware this is not an isolated incident and that you are also aware of the degradation that thousands upon thousands of Congolese women have been forced to bear – women who, little by little, began appearing at clinics all over the country with horrific lesions, severe damage to internal organs and HIV infections. And let’s skim over the psychological damage of a violence you and I could never imagine in our wildest dreams.
These atrocities are the by-product of a ten-year old war that has made Congo the most dangerous place on earth to be for a female. Especially in poorer nations, women are the fabric that holds a community together and are often the brightest hope to lift entire villages out of poverty. Despite ample reporting, even on the part of the ineffectual United Nations, nothing has been done about Congo and its women. It’s just an African country with scarce resources, no economic impact and no foreign interests. This is you husband’s Rwanda. Are you going to stand by until it’s too late, like President Clinton did?
If, like me, you are proud to be a smart, independent woman your heart must be tearing when you read the same accounts I read. How would you begin to explain to your daughters were they to ask? I can raise money, I can “adopt” a woman, I can spread the word. But you are the one with the powerful voice. I beg you, use it.