Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Rape is the real story. MSM covers Hillary trivia instead

I was channel flipping (and flipping out) all day yesterday, as I lay in bed with idle time on my hands due to a toothache. Attempting (in vain) to find coverage on the tube of SoS Hillary Clinton’s discussions and remarks in the Congo on the rape of women in the region. The AP had this story:

Clinton on mission for Congo war women

Clinton will personally comfort survivors of sexual violence and meet in the town with DR Congo’s President Joseph Kabila, whom she said she will be “pressing very hard” to take action to stop the assaults.

The top US diplomat, one of the most prominent female leaders in US history, told students in DR Congo’s capital Kinshasa on Monday that the sexual violence in the country was “one of mankind’s great atrocities.”

According to the United Nations, at least 200,000 women have been raped in the eastern DR Congo since 1996 with the pace of atrocities growing even worse after troops launched the offensive in one of Africa’s most tragedy-struck nations.

“We have seen in the late 20th century and now in this century a terrible trend of using sexual and gender-based violence as a tool of war to intimidate and demoralise populations,” Clinton told local Radio Okapi.

Instead, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC (I don’t look at FOX) focused on a short remark made during a meeting with students in Kinshasa, which was the result of a mistranslation.

I am deeply saddened (yet again) that at a time when the worlds most high profile woman, is speaking out against violence against women, in a region where women’s lives mean next to nothing, that the coverage of her efforts has been virtually ignored and we are given trivia instead.

Though Charles London, in his piece at the Huffington Post has called for more than moral outrage from Clinton, I am outraged that the TM hasn’t even bothered to cover that.

The State Department also alerted the press that the Secretary’s visit to Goma, the former rebel capital of the eastern DRC, will emphasize the scourge of sexual violence that has made that region the rape capital of the world. Since the joint operation between the armies of Rwanda and Congo began to route out rebels last winter, over half a million people have been displaced and incidents of sexual violence have skyrocketed, with all parties to the conflict being implicated in gruesome sexual attacks on civilians, according to a July 15th report by the UN Secretary General. State and non-state forces alike are plundering the countryside and abusing the population in horrific ways…

Chillingly, the government army of the Congo has even been accused of setting up bases near schools so that the soldiers have easy access to pre-pubescent “wives.” Though sexual violence is now a crime in the DRC, the police are inadequate to the task, notoriously corrupt, and those committed officers who are trying to bring perpetrators to justice, have no standing to take on the military. MONUC lacks the resources to effectively address this problem and prevent acts of violence. Their officers, while trying to get a handle on the situation, lack the language skills to communicate with the local population, and they remain under-resourced to address the scale of the crisis.

I have spent time in the Congo, though not in DR Congo.  I have paid visits to the progressive women of the Republic of the Congo, formerly Congo-Brazzaville, where revolutionary women were playing key roles in establishing a new nation after the destruction of the colonial period.


As a woman, as an activist for women’s rights and health I am proud to see our SoS address these issues, and hope that we, as a nation will take a leading role in combating violence against women.  

Watch this trailer for the documentary

The Greatest Silence: Rape in The Congo

But I’m disturbed at headlines that read:

“Hillary Clinton loses her temper in Congo”, or “Bill’s not secretary of state, I am, Hillary Clinton snaps”, or “Hillary Enraged By Student’s Question”.

Not providing links – but I wish that some of you would leave a few comments at any of these “news items” you run across.

TM = Trivia Media.

Cross posted at Daily Kos  


  1. Jjc2008

    I was hoping someone would make this point. I wanted to but I was honestly so livid after watching Ed Schultz, I knew anything I wrote might have too much vitriol and would probably stir up the primary wars.   I literally was seeing red.  

    Mr. Schultz who is a liberal on so many things gives more respect to Tom Tancredo than he does to Hillary Clinton.  I knew he did not care for Hillary but, like so many others, I got past his sexism because getting Obama elected so we could enact change was the most important thing.

    But today here was a liberal man’s “tease” for his viewers…

    Hilly Clinton’s temper tantrum and……

    why did the normally cool Tiger Woods lose his cool.

    And for the record, I watch golf and have seen Tiger lose his cool on the course more than a few times.  But that’s OK…he’s a guy and it’s golf.  Hillary is just a woman and she’s dealing with an area of the world where rape is still acceptable. (if icons were possible here I would insert a really angry face…..or an obscene gesture aimed at the sexism I witnessed today)>

    So the message: a woman is a like a toddler in her reaction, but the man was pushed to lose it because of someone or some thing.  If that was not insulting enough, he and Tancredo giggled like “locker room” jocks making fun of a girl.  Only Bill Press, one of the four men on his panel, acknowledged the sexism Schultz was displaying.

    NOT ONE WORD was mentioned about what Hillary was doing there, and who she was trying to help.  But then I wonder, do men like that even given a damn about the plight of women in that part of the world?

  2. Hollede

    I think that Mr Schultz needs to hear from viewers who found his comments offensive. Chris Matthews received a tremendous amount of criticism over his treatment of SOS Clinton during the primaries, and I have watched this 60+ year old man, try  to “get it” since that time. Does Matthews “get it”? I do not know, but the effort shows, and hopefully helps others look at sexism differently.

    As for Ed Schultz? I remember him from the mid 90’s in Grand Forks North Dakota when he was a raging Rush Limbaugh wannabe. I think the flood in 1997 changed him by helping him see the need for good government. Most of the bios on him credit his wife Wendy for moving to the left. Perhaps a few well stated e-mails will help him see the errors of his ways.

  3. NavyBlueWife

    because of this stupid “story”.  I watched it on Jon Stewart last night, and I was not pleased with the tone he took on it either.  It was completely a non-issue, as you point out Denise.  I was thinking of writing a diary on it, but I was so pissed that I couldn’t think straight to put words to paper.  I’m sure that HRS gets annoyed at being reduced to sound bites as well.  And all this bullshit started because of the North Korea episode.  I’ve thought about writing on that in a different take, but again, too angry to be productive.

  4. Jjc2008


    I doubt it will make a difference to the male (liberal as well as conservative) pundit class  that runs things.  Their need to demean and denigrate women seems insatiable.

    And clearly this was a non-issue for most of the blogs.  

    Whether one supported Hillary or not in the primaries should be moot.  The issue of empowering women, especially in parts of the world where physical abuse toward women, is acceptable, should mean something to all of us.  Yet, there is nothing but silence.

  5. in the NY Times.

    Money quote:

    As she circles the globe in coming years, making the case for women’s empowerment, starting with their basic right to be taken seriously, Clinton really has her work cut out for her. And it isn’t just because the situation of women around the world is so dire, and the ocean of problems confronting them – maternal mortality, sex trafficking, domestic abuse, malnourishment, lack of education, lack of adequate medical care, just for starters – is so wide and so deep. And it isn’t just that her historic mandate – to equally empower the other half of the world’s population, to chip away at the forces “devaluing women,” in the words of Melanne Verveer, the State Department’s new ambassador at large for global women’s issues – is so huge and vague and seemingly overwhelming. It’s also because the tide of trivialization that washes over all things “Hillary” is just so powerful. That tide threatens to drown out anything of substance Clinton might attempt for a population whose problems have long been obscured in the androcentric world of diplomacy. And that’s a huge pity.

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