August 13, 2009
Minneapolis, MN — On her visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the situation of rape as epidemic and horrific. She visited a country in the midst of the deadliest war since World War II, and where, in some villages, more than 90 percent of the women have been raped.
For years, the American Refugee Committee has been on the frontlines to help women recover from these unspeakable horrors and to take back control of their lives. “We work with communities to offer health care and legal aid for survivors of rape—but we also have seen firsthand the real power of women helping each other by telling their stories to one another, to their community, and to the world,” said Daniel Wordsworth, President of the American Refugee Committee, “Secretary Clinton understands that sharing personal stories through video is a powerful strategy to help.”
For more than 5 years, the American Refugee Committee has worked with communities in Africa and Asia to create videos on sensitive subjects such as rape, sexual exploitation, and forced marriage. The videos resonate with the local communities as they are conceived and filmed by the communities themselves. The videos also build awareness of local services available to address gender-based violence. Local facilitators trained through the project show the videos in community playback sessions to spur open discussion and action to address the issues.
The American Refugee Committee, in partnership with Communication for Change, is currently implementing a USAID/Women in Development multiyear project “Through our Eyes”, which utilizes participatory video in crisis-affected areas such as Liberia, southern Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda and Thailand. Congolese refugees living in refugee camps in Rwanda have also produced videos on rape and other subjects. More than 100 videos have been produced through the project to date.
“Secretary Clinton has shone a light on the tragedy of rape in war and the use of video as a way to begin the healing process,” added Wordsworth. “We’ve seen that participatory video can enable communities to find solutions from within, and to shape positive change for their own future.”
ABOUT THE AMERICAN REFUGEE COMMITTEE: The American Refugee Committee is an international humanitarian aid agency that works to help people take back control of their lives. The partnerships we form with our constituents and supporters provide essential services and economic opportunities to people who have lost everything due to conflict and disaster. Each year, the American Refugee Committee works with nearly 2.5 million people in Africa and Asia. The American Refugee Committee has been implementing programs to address gender-based violence for more than a decade, and the organization has become a recognized leader in this area. For more information, visit www.ARCrelief.org.
Press contact: Therese Gales at (800) 875-7060.