Just a couple nights ago I watched a Netflix film entitled City of Joy (not to be confused with a 1992 movie by the same name). This film is a documentary chronicling stories of hope and restoration from The Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been devastated by 20 years of war and violence.
The film explains how rape is used as a tool of war (no big surprise to those of us who follow women's issues around the globe!)—but even more, how the women affected by this can find their voices and reclaim their life's purpose and strength and in the process, find joy. The film shows the first class of women to graduate from a leadership center in eastern Congo. It's called the City of Joy—a safe place founded by Dr. Denis Mukwege, 2016 Nobel Peace Prize nominee; women's rights activist Christine Schuler-Deschryver and radical feminist Eve Ensler, author of "The Vagina Monologues". These three people did amazing work with women who suffered unimaginable violence to the point where these women went on to work for change in their country.
It is absolutely beautiful to watch the women grow and become stronger—and joyful again—as the film (and their training) progresses! Above all, this is a story about resilience. It's a story about joy. It's about finding our voices, even in the face of incredible pain and sadness.
For those of us who have not experienced the ravages of war or of sexual violence, there still are lessons to learn: the importance of not remaining a victim, no matter what our experience; the value in speaking up and telling our stories and our truths; the power of reclaiming hope and joy—and so much more.
Have you found your voice? Are you using it? Are you telling your story, whatever it is? I encourage us all to do so! It's so powerful. It's also powerful to stand together with our sisters around the globe—and those brothers who support us!