Looking for ways to get involved? Here are some suggestions:
Call or write to your Senators and Representatives
Ask them to support the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA). The I-VAWA will work to support survivors of sexual violence, hold perpetrators accountable, and prevent violence against women around the globe. The bills (S. 2279 and HR. 5927) would also increase US diplomatic attention to ending violence against women and incorporate best practices into US foreign assistance.
Dear Senator/Representative :
As an American and a Reform Jew, I’d like to urge you to work with the Obama administration to take immediate action to support efforts to protect civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The recent surge in violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo threatens to return the area to war and is uprooting and overturning the lives of civilians. At least 250,000 have been displaced and tales of looting and rape loom over the area.
The ten year war in the DRC led to the death of 4.5 million people and widespread rape. In 2006 alone, 27,000 cases of sexual assault were reported in the province of South Kivu, and many other went unreported due to social stigmas and a lack of medical or legal resources. In January 2008, a peace agreement supported by the international community halted much of the violence, but that peace is now breaking.
As a Jew, I am intimately connected to the history of what happens when human rights atrocities are met with inaction by the international community. The Torah teaches that we must “not stand idly by at the blood of our brother.” We must not turn a blind eye to the violence in the DRC.
U.S. focus on the DRC can help bring protection to civilians and can help keep the region from returning to all out war. Please urge President Obama and Secretary Clinton to work to help reinforce MONUC, the peacekeeping force in the DRC, and to use both the UN Security Council and direct diplomacy to bring safety and stability to the civilians in the region.
Sign a petition
Sign a petition to Congress urging passage of the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).
Use the Media to Spread Your Voice
- Tell your local news station about what you’re doing to protect and empower Congolese women and girls, and what the result has been.
- Blog about what’s happening in eastern Congo and what you’re doing to be a part of the solution.
- Write to your faith-based publication or newsletter. See sample.