From: Neema Namadamu and the Maman Shujaa, DRC
For over 16 years our sisters, mothers, and daughters in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been brutalized, raped and killed by men in uniform. My own daughter was indiscriminately singled out and attacked this summer.
This chaos and suffering we’ve come to know intimately is fueled by the greed of unprincipled men and nations over the DRC’s rich mineral wealth and other resources. Our bodies are used as weapons of war between one faction and another, or to enslave and control a population over mining and energy interests. Millions have been senselessly killed and millions more have died due to the conditions forced upon them.
It is time for this barbarity to end. We started a petition on Change.org calling on President Obama to appoint a U.S. Presidential Envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo immediately to end the violence and find a path to lasting peace. In other global crises like in the Sudan, Burma and North Korea, the U.S. appointed envoys who engaged in diplomacy at the highest levels, and it worked. Only with the appointment of an envoy can the U.S. put real pressure on the men behind the violence in the DRC, including the foreign governments that are funding many of the rebel groups. Click here to sign our petition now.
In our country, a woman is 134 times more likely to be raped than in the U.S. This kind of trauma could break us — but it hasn’t. Since July, we have been organizing hundreds of women to tell their stories and build a global sisterhood to bring peace to the DRC. We have used the internet to forge alliances with women around the world, including Nobel Peace laureates.
We call ourselves Maman Shujaa in Swahili — “Hero Women”. And after seeing how Change.org petitions were used successfully by women activists from Burma and Saudi Arabia, we started our petition on Change.org to not only call on President Obama, but also all the women leaders in the White House to join us in finding a lasting solution for peace in the DRC. We want women like Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and First Lady Michelle Obama to join us as Hero Women for the DRC.
With their help and the appointment of a U.S. Presidential Envoy, we Hero Women can have a voice in the high level diplomacy needed to end the violence in the DRC and start building peace.