CONGO RAPE

03.12.11

Congo Rape Victims: 'If You Knew Her, You Would Care'

Zainab Salbi challenges women to come to the aid of those who have their lives torn apart by relenless sexual violence.

Zainab Salbi, founder of the nonprofit Women for Women International, shared heartbreaking stories of women who have had their lives torn apart by the rape epidemic in Congo, challenging women to come to their aid by repeating "If you knew her you would care," after each story.

One woman was captured by rebel soldiers and sold to a commander for a case of beer. He raped her for three months, not even allowing her to go to the bathroom unaccompanied, Salbi said. But eventually, he helped her escape by disguising her in rebel clothes before the soldiers were ordered to kill all the women. "The one who slaved her is the one who saved her," Salbi said. "She talks about how grateful she was for this man who was evil and good all at the same time." But when she returned to her village, her husband would have nothing to do with her, as often happens to women who have been raped in the country. She was pregnant, and infected with STDs.

This woman, along with nearly 300,000 others around the world, participate in Salbi's Women for Women group, which encourages more fortunate women to through writing letters and sending $27 a month.

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