There’s a green hoodie sweatshirt hanging in my closet that says “Save Darfur.” I bought it a decade ago to draw attention to the genocide there. This was before South Sudan became an independent state–even before the United States named the atrocities being committed as a genocide. I remember gathering with people on the beach in Corona del Mar to spell out the word “Enough” with our bodies so it could be photographed for an advocacy postcard. I remember coordinating presentations and play readings about the genocide, and in particular, sharing the stories of women being raped when they tried to leave the refugee camps to collect firewood. I remember people being horrified that genocide continued on our watch. But many years have passed since then–and my attention, and that of the world, has largely shifted away from Darfur to other countries with other atrocities. I hate to admit that it took George Clooney’s persistent advocacy to grab my attention again.
An op-ed piece in the New York Times by Clooney, John Prendergast and Akshaya Kumar focuses attention back on Sudan, where Human Rights Watch recently documented the rape of more than 200 women and girls in Darfur by the Sudanese army. It contains tangible, practical actions that can be taken by the U.S. government and other members of the international community to both hold the Sudanese government accountable and put an end to the violence continuing to plague the country.
Ten years ago we said “enough” to the genocide and “enough” to the violence being perpetrated on women and girls. It’s time to say “enough” again–this time with more than mere words.
|Cathy Standiford is passionately committed to improving the lives of women and girls, locally and globally, and advocating for their basic human rights. Cathy served as 2009-2010 President of Soroptimist International of the Americas, LiveYourDream.org’s sponsoring organization: a global volunteer organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.|