Today is Day 33 of my Hunger Strike. For more than a month, I have consumed copious amounts of water. Water with lemon and raw Tupelo honey, sometime with cinnamon and other times with cayenne. I drink vegetable broth as well, brewed a little different each time to help with the monotony.
I have discovered a well of discipline within that I scarcely knew existed. For clients, I am a tireless advocate. As a mother, I have been disciplined. But this hunger strike has become a gift to myself as much as it has been a devotion, a project of love for my Sisters in Congo. I found a strength, in my faith, And with meditation and yoga, I have found a sense of calm purpose.
Approximately 38,016 girls and women, aged 15-49 have been raped in Congo thus far on my hunger strike. Countless rapes, cases of fistula, the spreading of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the unbearable burden of shame and the pain of ostracism. These women bear all this, struggle with poverty and malnutrition, displacement from their homes, slavery in the conflict mineral mines, and other preventable diseases. Their commitment to justice, despite living in a nation almost paralyzed by violence, transcends Grace.
My hunger strike is dedicated to these women but also to urge President Barack Obama and members of his Administration to appoint a Special Envoy. Policy desires will meet a brutal reality on the ground. The time for strongly worded statements is over. The time for justice is now.