In One Voice: Ending Violence Against Women in Darfur

Panelists: Rev. Gloria White-Hammond, MD; John Heffernan; Maria Bello; Niemat Ahmadi; Dr. Kelly Askin

Originally posted at Save Darfur’s Blog.

Last night Americans joined together on one night, in one voice, calling for an end to violence against women in Darfur.

Here in Washington DC, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum hosted a premier of Save Darfur’s short documentary, Reclaiming Dignity, and a panel discussion on the topic.  You can watch the incredibly powerful video and panel by downloading them here.

The documentary is an important call to action to concerned citizens around the world.  Sexual violence in Darfur is a destructive and pervasive weapon of war and genocide.  However, the women who survive this violence and those who support them are pillars of strength and fonts of knowledge about how to stop these atrocities.  Only by hearing their stories can we begin to understand how to support these women in their quest for peace in Darfur.

Save Darfur president Jerry Fowler introduced the panel by reminding the audience that April, Genocide Prevention Month, is quickly coming up.  For this year’s Holocaust remembrance the Holocaust Museum will be highlighting the work of Raphael Lemkin, the man behind the Genocide Convention.  The theme is “what you do matters”.

“What you do matters” could’ve been the theme for last night’s event, as well.  It was an honor to hear from our colleague Niemat Ahmadi, who survived assasination attempts by the Sudanese government for her work to help women and girls in Darfur.  Niemat told the activsts watching, “you kept our people alive”.

You can take immediate action to help the women and girls of Darfur by sending them a message of support:

Call 1-888-473-7885. Express your moral support by leaving any message you feel comfortable with. Let the women of Darfur know that you care, are thinking of them and are acting to help them. We will play these messages over the radio to camps in Darfur so that they hear our collective voices as “One Voice.”

You can also urge Secretary of State Clinton to act to end violence against women in Darfur.

We urge you to direct the U.S. Department of State to create the necessary mechanisms to stop this type of violence and immediately address the continued targeting of women in Darfur, Sudan.

Maria Bello shared an inspiring quote from journalist Amy Goodman:

“People need to go where the silence is and say something.”

The best way to break the silence around sexual violence in Darfur is to literally say something – to the women and girls in Darfur, to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, and to your members of Congress.  The women of Darfur have spoken up with strength and dignity.  We must stand with them and call on our leaders to do the same.

For more photos of the event please check out my Flickr set.

About Martha Heinemann Bixby

Advocacy. Politics. Life. Martha Heinemann Bixby.
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