News

In Their Own Words

Apr 11, 2011

“Last month we traveled together to the eastern Congo. We are on opposing sides politically, but are now working together after seeing first-hand the toll that this more than 15-year-long humanitarian crisis has inflicted on the people there. Side by side, we bore witness to nightmarish stories about last July’s rebel attacks. Over four days rebels raped more than 300 people, including children and the elderly. Some women were violated repeatedly; husbands and children of the victims were often held at gunpoint and forced to watch… Those attacks, as horrific as they are, were but the latest in a long series of atrocities in eastern Congo, where 15,000 people were raped last year, according to U.N. estimates. As many as a half-million women – roughly the population of Washington – have been raped at least once, if not repeatedly, since 1996… We have the capacity to respond to these outrages in eastern Congo. We can step up our diplomatic activities. We can pay more attention to an under-reported story. If nothing else, we can express the outrage such terrible acts demand. What we cannot afford to do is remain silent.”
--Actor Ben Affleck and Cindy McCain, “Don’t Look Away from the Terror in Congo,” Politico, March 8, 2011

“CBS executives, not to mention the millions of viewers of his ‘family’ sitcom “Two and a Half Men,” have consistently turned a blind eye toward Mr. Sheen’s history of abusing women… Even now…observers still seem more entertained than outraged, tuning in to see him appear on every talk show on the planet and coming up with creative Internet memes based on his most colorful statements. And while his self-abuses are endlessly discussed, his abuse of women is barely broached… But there’s something else at work here: the seeming imperfection of Mr. Sheen’s numerous accusers. The women are of a type, which is to say, highly unsympathetic. Some are sex workers – pornographic film stars and escorts – whose compliance with churlish conduct is assumed to be part of the deal. (For the record: It is not.)… It’s these sorts of explicit and implicit value judgments that underscore our contempt for women who are assumed to be trading on their sexuality. A woman’s active embrace of the fame monster or participation in the sex industry, we seem to say, means that she compromises her right not to be assaulted, let alone humiliated, insulted or degraded; it’s part of the deal.”
--Anna Holmes, “The Disposable Woman,” New York Times, March 3, 2011

“..This year we will work to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which has provided resources and support to victims of domestic violence and their children. I am committed to protecting this law, which has helped millions of women affected by violence. As we reflect this month on the contributions American women have made to our shared history and celebrate their influence on the path of our state and our nation, we will also continue our work to ensure that every person – regardless of gender – has the same opportunity to live her dreams.”
--U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in a statement on Women’s History Month, March 1, 2011