Addario: While covering rape in Congo, ‘I was openly weeping during interviews’
Women Under Siege
The Women’s Media Center launched a new project today, “Women Under Siege,” to raise awareness about how sexualized violence is used as a weapon of war. The project, which Gloria Steinem initiated and Lauren Wolfe is directing, has a website that features testimonies from journalists who have been sexually assaulted or have covered sexual assault, including CBS’ Lara Logan and New York Times photojournalist Lynsey Addario. Addario, who was captured in Libya last year, wrote about the impact of covering rape in Congo:
By the time I finished my two weeks photographing portraits and recording testimonies, I was completely devastated and depressed. I was openly weeping during interviews, and felt like I couldn’t process all the hatred and violence toward women I was bearing witness to. I felt inadequate and helpless as a journalist.
I never understood before my attack that sexual violence is another form of oppression. A very effective means for men to not only dominate women, but also to deny them their rightful place in society. It is not as noticeable in Western societies like the U.S., because women are more powerful than in an Islamic country like Egypt. But it is still true. I was able to reclaim my life because I could go home to a free society, stand tall, and be open about what happened to me. I could do that without shame. Without fear of retribution. And I could emerge with my dignity restored.