By: Daksha Rangan
Members of the Ryerson Chapter of Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) and staff from its head office stood in front of the Ryerson Student Centre for 16 hours Nov. 5 — one hour for every 100,000 rape victims in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“Every five minutes four women are raped in the Congo,” said Ken Zolotar, youth engagement coordinator at JHR’s Toronto head office. “It’s the rape capital of the world.”
A part of JHR’s HollerDay, members of JHR Ryerson and staff from its head office stood for 16 hours, raising awareness for the 1.6 million men, women and children who are victims of rape in Congo.
“I love that HollerDay encompasses both genders. It shows that while women, and even children, face a lot of setbacks, men do too,” said Kayla Hoolwerf, a first-year journalism student and volunteer at JHR Ryerson.
Theresa Do, vice president of events and promotion at JHR Ryerson said HollerDay aims to empower youth.
“It’s about finding ways to get involved,” she said. “If you just tell people it will get put on the back burner.”
“JHR’s focus is building aid that’s sustainable,” said Leah Wong, president of JHR Ryerson. “We want programs that will ensure that a developing country can sustain itself after development.”
By training local journalists in developing countries to harness the media, JHR believes that these countries will have the means to act independently, without relying on external funding.
“In post-conflict countries there’s often new constitutions, new UN sanctions, that people don’t know about,” Zolotar said. “If they know, they have access. That’s why the media is so important.”
By midnight JHR Ryerson raised $606. All proceeds will go directly to JHR’s project to end sexual violence in Congo.