Vagina Monologues Raises Money for

Last weekend I went to see the Vagina Monologues at the Michener Institute in Toronto. Students of the Applied Health Sciences department put on a great performance to raise money and awareness for — an event that was created out of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues. Here’s a clip not from the Michener students, but from someone equally adept at capturing the voice of the vagina:

The monologues describe in graphic detail the joys and horrors of owning a vagina — probably not everybody’s cup of tea — some of the portrayals are horrific and barbaric but others are sexy and funny — the point is, it gets the message across. Something needs to change about the women in the Congo who are raped and mutilated — victims of an ugly war for rich resources that fuel the electronics industry.

Here are some of the resources found in the Congo, courtesy of Congo’s Conflict Minerals:

  • Tin – used inside your cell phone and all electronic products as a solder on circuit boards. 53% of tin worldwide is used as a solder, the vast majority of which goes into electronics. Armed groups earn approximately $85 million per year from trading in tin.
  • Tantalum (often called “coltan”) – used to store electricity in capacitors in iPods, digital cameras, and cell phones. 65-80% of the world’s tantalum is used in electronic products. Armed groups earn an estimated $8 million per year from trading in tantalum.
  • Tungsten – used to make your cell phone or Blackberry vibrate. Tungsten is a growing source of income for armed groups in Congo, with armed groups currently earning approximately $2 million annually.
  • Gold – used mainly in jewelry, gold is also a component in electronics. Extremely valuable and easy to smuggle, armed groups are earning between $44-88 million per year from gold.

This is what the war in the Congo is all about and if you own a cell phone or an iPod, then you are responsible, we are all responsible in some way or another. Makes you think.

Too many women in war-torn countries are being brutally raped and tortured every day. For those that survive, they are left with a feeling of tremendous shame — shame about the ugly scar that now exists instead of a beautiful vagina. The Vagina Monologues teaches us to love our vaginas and now, for the first time, people like Honorata who survived rape and torture are making a change by standing up and speaking out. She shares her stories in front of crowds of people and this helps to empower other women, to let them know there is no shame, no reason to hide, but that there is every reason to talk about it and get the message out there. Something needs to be done and Honorata gives these women a voice. Here’s her story:

If you want to find out more about and how you can help the women in the Congo, please visit

Women’s Rights — Whose Rights are they Really?

There’s been a lot of talk in the news this week about the new laws in Afghanistan, including conjugal laws that condone marital rape. When you hear these kinds of things, you wonder what good has come of the peace efforts in Afghanistan and are we just wasting our time?

I heard one expert on the CBC pose the question: Should we expect a country seeped in tradition and tribal laws to change over night? We’re talking marital rape here. If you have the choice to condone this or stop it, wouldn’t you, as a human being of the free world stand up and say NO! Rape is rape and it is NOT okay, I don’t care where you live.

In this CTV clip, Human Rights Activist Sally Armstrong praises the $5M-dollar peace efforts in Afghanistan and says it’s just an electioneering stunt on the part of Karzai and his government. Sounds like a bad omen to me: