Josephine's Reviews > A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman

A Thousand Sisters by Lisa J. Shannon
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's review
Feb 10, 2011

really liked it
Read from February 06 to 10, 2011

When Lisa Shannon returned from the Congo and was delivering a speech, one woman broke down sobbing and left the room -- and later, the organizer told Shannon she needed to tone everything down because her speech was "too dark."

But how do you "lighten" up a discussion about Congo once you've been there and seen firsthand how the women have suffered?

Just last year, Nicholas Kristof wrote in his column about how he'd learned some new words from the area.

He writes, "I’ve learned some new words. One is 'autocannibalism,' coined in French but equally appropriate in English. It describes what happens when a militia here in eastern Congo’s endless war cuts flesh from living victims and forces them to eat it."

This, to a certain extent, was what happened to one woman -- Genrose -- that Shannon met with.

The militia killed her husband and then hacked off her leg and commanded her child to eat it -- when her son refused, they killed him.

Shannon is confronted with scores of horrific stories of rape and torture, which she documents in A Thousand Sisters, which recounts how she went from owning a photo production company to becoming the founder of a grassroots movement to raise awareness and funds for women in the DR Congo through Run for Congo Women.

The funds are used to sponsor more than a thousand war-affected Congolese women through Women for Women International.

Because the organization is featured so prominently in the book, it's only natural that Shannon urges readers to also sponsor Congo women through Women for Women International.

It's hard not to automatically sign up after reading this book.

Reading the testimonials of the many women that Shannon interviewed is heart wrenching -- and while there's a definite need to put a spotlight on what's been happening to these women for all these years, the more you wade into Shannon's book, you get to a point where she's pressing these women for more details and it's obvious that these women no longer want to discuss the most traumatic and horrifying moments in their lives anymore...and that's when it gets really uncomfortable.

That being said, I think Shannon's book is an important one to read and a call to arms to join the movement to help our Congolese sisters.

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