The City of Joy

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“This is not rape as people in the West understand it. This is a weapon of war, a deliberate strategy designed to destroy our communities by leaving our women disabled and ostracised from their families and neighbours.”– Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese doctor who treats rape victims and is helping to build a place called “The City of Joy,” a town especially built for women to “heal, rebuild and learn new skills to take out into the world again.”

You should really, really read this article. It made me cry.

Here’s more with some ways to help, if you’re interested, which you should be. This is the deadliest and most violent conflict since World War II, and no one seems to have noticed.

Update: It turns out Kristof just wrote a very good column on the Congo, too.


Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →