Turning Pain to Power: V-Day

February 15, 2009 § 2 Comments

Wednesday night, I was so fortunate to see Eve Ensler and Dr. Mukwege on their Turning Pain to Power tour at the 92nd St Y. Eve Ensler, a rape survivor and celebrity activist who has for years been turning her own pain to power, met Dr. Mukwege, a gynecologist from the Congo who runs the only hospital for victims of sexual warfare, and the two of them began to change the world. 

There is so much I could say here so I will probably make this post one of many about this topic and V-Day (I know, V-Day was yesterday so bear with the tardiness). For this one, I really want to get my initial reactions down so get ready for the summarizing.

What’s happening in the Congo:

What is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been subject to imperialism since the 19th century. Once it was decolonized, various groups and regimes competed for the Congo’s mineral wealth. Many severe wars ensued, making the Congolese people victims of not only neighboring areas stealing their wealth and raping women and children, but of their own Congolese military doing so too. There is a local war for mineral resources going on right now, a war that is raping the greatest resource of all: women. Sexual violence is used as a way to control and displace communities, breaking their domestic structures down from the inside out.

Why it matters to us:

“Women, children, are being orphaned from their bodies. They don’t have their homes, they don’t have their families, they don’t have their bodies.”

“When you see women who have such a desire to fight, you can only be on their side.”

         ~ Dr. Mukwege, February 11th, 92nd St Y

You cannot look at all these atrocities happening all over the world and not think they are somehow connected to us.” ~ Eve Ensler

What we can do

according to the V-Man himself:

There’s only so much medicine can do. I feel most hopeless when women don’t understand that they have lost something they can’t take back.

A huge problem is where these women go after they leave the hospital. Panzi hospital acts as a safe haven for these destitute women. This is why V-Day is creating the City of Joy, a community for victims of sexual violence to recover on both a physical and psychological level once they leave the hospital. 100 women at a time go into transition to learn to be leaders. 


  1. Talk about it. Write about it. Call about it. Text about it. Blog about it. Get angry about it.
  2. Talk to your leaders.

For a youth-specific action plan, go to this page!

Stay tuned for the monologue Eve opened with on Wednesday!

It’s a terrible war of rape, a war against women, but what V-Day does is that it gives hope. V-Day spreads the hope of change and of turning pain to power for these courageous women.


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