Monday, November 09, 2009

Rape Bystanders No Longer

If you saw a 15-year old girl getting raped in an alley – would you stop it or cheer it on? Last month, this brutal scenario played out at a high school dance in California where police say more than 20 people stood, watched and jeered the two-hour gang-rape of a young woman. As a nation, we are now wrestling with the brutality of these abusers and the unfathomable lack of action from the bystanders. We are rightly enraged by the lack of action to stop human suffering and are pursuing criminal charges where possible.

Before we cast stones, we must realize that you and I are already bystanders to rape and massive human suffering. We have stood by as more than 400,000 men, women and children were murdered in Darfur. We are still standing by as the rapes, torture, starvation and suffering continues unabated for those left alive.

The good news is that there is a growing movement to end genocide and mass atrocities and it’s not too late to prevent the next great human tragedy. This past weekend, more than 800 students and adults gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Pledge2Protect conference organized by the Genocide Intervention Network. On Monday, the North Carolina delegation met with Sens. Burr and Hagan to urge them to make “never again” a reality. One unique aspect of this round of advocacy was the use of videos from North Carolinians in addition to “old fashioned” talking, to make the point to our elected representatives.

I urge you – yes you, the one reading this blog post - to refuse to be a bystander to genocide and take action with us. The first step to joining the anti-genocide conversation in the Triangle region of North Carolina is to join the Interfaith Coalition for Sudanese Peace for free food, a film screening and discussion on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at 1280 Buck Jones Rd, Raleigh, N.C. RSVP to Scott at: suttonsa {at} gmail {dot} com.

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