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5 speakers 15 minutes each
Mon 21st Nov 2011
Eve Ensler is an inspiring author, performer, feminist and playwright whose works for the stage include The Vagina Monologues, Necessary Targets, and The Good Body. She is also the author of Insecure at Last, a political memoir. Ensler is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls. In the last decade, V-Day has raised more than $70 million for grassroots groups that work to end violence against women and girls around the world. In this film she describes the plight of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where rape has been used a weapon of war against thousands of women during the long, brutal and ongoing civil war. The City of Joy is a centre for women to come together and talk and share their experiences. It has become a place for dancing, singing and finding joy out of despair. Ensler describes how Africa is the heart of the world and women the heart of Africa and how important it is for the terrible suffering of women and girls in the DRC not to be ignored.
Christine Schuler Deschryver has fought for human rights since her childhood. The daughter of a Congolese mother and a Belgian father, she attended school in Belgium and was active in the movement against racism. Later, she returned to Congo with her husband and child and worked as a teacher with CARE Canada, an anti-poverty and emergency-relief organisation. In 2000, after witnessing the rape and murder of her best friend, and after an infant victim of sexual violence died in her arms, Christine Schuler Deschryver decided to devote her life to alerting the world to the femicide and mass rape of women and children in the DRC. This year, she was honoured in the DRC and Geneva for her human rights work and has featured in a film by French journalist, Patrick Forestier. Christine is currently V-Day’s Congo Director and the Director of City of Joy, a revolutionary center for survivors of rape and torture conceived by women in Congo.
Helena Kennedy is one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers. She has spent her professional life giving voice to those who have least power within the system, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights. She has used many public platforms – including the House of Lords, to which she was elevated in 1997 – to argue with passion, wit and humanity for social justice. She has also written and broadcast on a wide range of issues, from medical negligence to terrorism to the rights of women and children.