Some issues benefit from silence. This is one that does not. 33 years ago this month, I was raped. I don’t need consolation, pity, or questions. The only reason I share this now publicly is because of the work I am doing with Congo Women Arise/Arise from Stigma. We live in an age where no woman has to feel alone…digital technology can make known issues that become normalized if they otherwise remain secret. As Brene Brown says, “Shame requires silence in order to grow.” Internalizing a tragic event casts blame on oneself instead of the perpetrator. Some of the general public believes what it wants to believe in order to profit from that silence, but women who’ve suffered must learn to support one another publicly. We can turn the tide. Our daughters, granddaughters, nieces and friends can live better lives if we do.
Looking back on my time in East Congo last July, I think about the three brave survivors who came forward publicly: Georgette, Rosalie and Bibiche. Rosalie is getting ready to be on radio there, and my prayer is that someone will hear her story and come forward with news of what happened to her daughter who was taken from her. I pray that she and the other women will be supported and grow within the community and become leaders within them. I stand in solidarity with Rosalie. I stand with the women who’ve come to me to share in private their stories. Please pray for a new day to come. God is with us!

About N. Neelley Hicks

A social innovator in communication strategies & technologies for global development, Neelley is the founder of Harper Hill Global. Check out her game-changing work: harperhill.global.
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