Thursday, October 05, 2006
This is not a fairy tale
There are some things you see, some things you hear that simply are unspeakable. In a hospital in the eastern Congo city of Goma, we met a little girl. She never said a word to us, she could barely look us in the eyes. When she did, her eyes told the story.

"She never says anything to men," one of the hospital counselors explained, and then she told us why.

The little girl was raped. Gang-raped. It was allegedly done by soldiers engaged in a complicated regional war that has claimed millions of lives. The war officially ended in 2003, but outbreaks of violence and rape continue. The girl is now five years old. She was raped when she was three.

I wish I could tell you this was an extraordinary event. I wish I could tell you she was the only child attacked. The hospital was full of rape victims, and the doctor had seen other small children victimized.

Because the rapes are so violent, women often develop fistulas -- ruptures in their vaginas or rectums that make it impossible to control bodily functions. A charity called Heal Africa was running this hospital, and the doctor said he was able to fix about 70-80 percent of the fistula cases, but of course some wounds never heal.

Heal Africa has opened up a residence for women with fistulas that can't be surgically fixed, at least not here in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The women can't go home. Often they've been rejected by their husbands because they were raped. The stigma here is strong.

I met a woman named Angela. I can't stop thinking about her. She was raped by three men in front of her children. Afterwards they shot her, and she says they burned her baby girl. The girl is four now and has a massive scar all over her chest.

Angela's fistula was fixed, but her arm remains injured from the gunshot. Pscyhologically she's still devastated. To make matters worse, her husband kicked her out of the house.

"He heard I was raped," she said whispering. "And he just said, 'Go on your own, I don't need you anymore. If we lived together, you now might have HIV so you might infect me.'"

I didn't ask Angela her HIV status. I didn't think it was any of my business. Perhaps I should have asked, but she didn't volunteer it, and I felt like I'd already asked her too much.

The funding for the Heal Africa house comes from a non-governmental organization. They say their funding ends in April. It's not clear what will happen then.

"The only thing I need is some land so I can build a house," Angela said to me before I left. "I might die and I want my kids to have that castle. I'm hoping for a miracle."

There aren't many miracles in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is not a fairy tale, some stories don't have happy endings. Here the men who rape with impunity are rarely brought to justice. Women like Angela are expected to simply bear the pain.

If you would like to help Heal Africa in the work they are doing, you can log onto their Web site.

Posted By Anderson Cooper: 12:14 PM ET
Mr. Cooper,

I watched your report on these stories last night and I wept the entire time. I've never felt so selfish. We, as Americans, think these things are worlds away and they aren't. Each of these people have a horrible story. Why $300 billion plus in Iraq? I agree it's horrible there too, but why no attention to The Congo, Darfur, all of Africa? This is dispicable. I commend you for opening our eyes. The blood will be on our hands now. We must step up and do the right thing. I'm also glad that you are reporting on the gorillas that are being mistreated, sold, and even killed. Those who do these things should be brought to justice. Great reporting. Stay safe.
Posted By Anonymous Cyn, Tupelo, Mississippi : 12:35 PM ET
It is a difficult thing to watch the harrowing tales transmitted from across width and breadth of the ailing continent of Africa, ...and yet it has become a magnetic thing, which draws one to the television each night. Can the atrocities possibly have worsened since last evening's report? Indeed. These stories are far too gruesome and horrible to ignore. Keep at it, please- your news does not fall on deaf ears or blind eyes. Many thanks for the unrelenting course you are all staying, delivering kind smiles to small children, simple relief and aid to thousands, and a harsh call to action for those of us who would otherwise do nothing but watch from afar.
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Huntsville, Alabama : 12:50 PM ET
First of all, thanks for the coverage. The stories are great but very very sad. It's hard to imagine things like this still occuring.

It's beyond me to understand how and why they raped and killed babies, toddlers or any human being. It just makes me angry and sad...
Posted By Anonymous Chew, Houston TX : 12:53 PM ET

As I have been watching your show the last two days, I've noticed how each and every pair of eyes you've shown on 360 have told me a different story. It's unbearable to watch, but I want to know, have to know, what's going on in Africa. The stories in those eyes are what's driving me to lead a different life whether it's with my vote, my money, or my career.

Thank you for showing us what no one else will.
Posted By Anonymous Marcie, Vista, California : 12:56 PM ET
Anderson, it is a truly horrendous world to live in where an innocent child can be violated in such a way. I hope that the work you are doing in Congo and the team is doing in Darfur exposing all of the heinous crimes being committed against our fellow human beings will inspire the world to act on a massive scale.

Today is DarfurFast, an international day where people may give up an item of luxury and donate the money they save to a charity working in Darfur. We all must do our part to help these people.

Thank you for your work, thank you for keeping us informed and showing us what is really happening.
Posted By Anonymous Chelsea, Halifax, Nova Scotia : 12:58 PM ET
This is absolutely horrific. Thank you for covering this Anderson and opening the eyes of many to these injustices. We, as a human race, should stand up and not let things like this take place in this day and age. Hopefully, each person that reads this will find it in them to help in some way.
Posted By Anonymous Katayoun, Houston TX : 12:58 PM ET
Hey Anderson,

It's a first,but, I don't know what to say. I watched it last night. I felt like throwing up,I felt so sad and so mad. What really gets to me,is that the men have no repercussions. But most of all, the women are thrown away like yesterday's garbage!

As a woman, it is hard for me to accept that women and children are treated like animals,no, less than animals. Thank you for the link, but most of all, thank you for caring enough to bring us the story.

Take care
Joanne Ranzell
Laval Quebec
Posted By Anonymous Joanne Ranzell Laval Quebec : 1:08 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
Well, you're certainly right when you say this is no fairy tale..Reality has a way of taking the wind out of your sails..It trumps hope all too often..Thank you for reporting this and giving the link..I've been watching ac360 this week and I must admit it has been hard to see. A jolt of reality always is..But I raised to never give up hope..Not on myself or on others. Sending a donation will probably be of little comfort to these women, but I'm sending one today..And so will many others..One person at a time..That's hope..Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton,Calif. : 1:09 PM ET
It is shocking and horrifying that females are treated like animals. Acutally, the animals are treated better. The trauma (physical and mental) is so gruesome, it is almost surreal.

What you described sounds more like hell than a country. :(
Posted By Anonymous Genevieve Matthews, El Paso, TX : 1:41 PM ET
Thanks for the great reporting. I teach Genocide at the high school level and have my students watching your reports each nite. This has given them more insight into just some of the terrible tragedies happening in Africa. We all need to do our part to spread awarenss!!
Posted By Anonymous Jill Tejeda, Livingston New Jersey : 1:41 PM ET
In a world of frappucinos and razor cell phones. It's so hard to believe that we as humans still allow these horrific things to happen to our fellow humans. With billions of dollars going towards the Middle East it makes me livid that we as Americans are hardly ever exposed to these situations in the world. Most media coverage is so busy covering Tom Cruise stories... I thank CNN and Anderson Cooper for reporting on these stories which touch our lives and making us think. Maybe also inspiring some people like myself to want to help and make a difference.
Posted By Anonymous Valerie Cua, Spring TX : 1:45 PM ET
My God, I am just shocked. I dont really even know what to say. I know that America cant save everyone but if we had a chance to go there and help I would rejoin the Military.
Posted By Anonymous Michelle, Memphis, TN : 1:59 PM ET
As a father of two girls (6 and 2), I weep at the vision of a sweet 5 year old in which all security and innocence was so brutally erased by... I can not even think of the words to describe the individuals who would do such a thing. It moves me to action. My action to take is still undefined yet my resolve is now set. Who else is on board?
Posted By Anonymous Dr. David M. Sluss, PhD, Columbia, South Carolina : 1:59 PM ET
This kind of story makes you realize how fortunate we are to live in a country where we are protected from such things
Posted By Anonymous Dan Mellemstrand lakewood CO : 2:01 PM ET
Anderson, I grew up on a mission station called Nyankunde about 50 miles from Bunia. many of the people we knew were killed. Some taken into the operating rooms at the hospital and butchered. Milions have died in the Congo unnoticed. Thank you for
covering this story.
Posted By Anonymous Bryan MacDougall - Georgia : 2:02 PM ET
This story was especially difficult to watch and read about but thank you for reporting it. We need to know and to see the horrors that are happening over there. People do care and can make a difference even if it's just one person at a time. I appreciate the links to agencies that are trying to help. I hope that you will continue to report on this area of the world on a regular basis. Many thanks to you and your staff for the great shows of the past few nights. Greatly looking forward to tonight's show.
Posted By Anonymous Mary Anne, Parlin, NJ : 2:04 PM ET
I worked in Goma and the Lake Kivu area in the 1980's, and it was like paradise there. It was a time of peace. To read about the situation there, that little girl who had been raped by soldiers, is heart-wrenching. How humans can turn paradise into a living hell!
Posted By Anonymous Michael Mau, Montreal, Canada : 2:04 PM ET
"Africa's Shame". First, Africa is not a village so you are doing a diservice to the people you are trying to help by lumping every problem there as one.

No wonder the only thing Americans know about Africa is of hunger, poverty and rape. So you touch the souls of the majority of Americans and they they feel guilty and compelled to act by just sending more AID.

You point out each cell phone has a piece of Congo in it. Very true. And then you point out the hardworking African miner getting pennies for his work because of corruption. Very true also. But does the story end there? Dont you have the resources to fly to those private airstrips that brings in American/Western Investors everyday to come bribe the locals officials so they can come in and leave with that tin without paying duties/taxes and sell it to the Motorollas?

Does the typical American know that the low cost for their phones is based on that..thus they are benefiting/contributing to the corruption you are exposing. That $20 they send for AID is probably the same $20 they have saved from the cellphones because of the way the TIN was sold.

A typical American would come out thinking Congo Republic is where it is because of corruption and that unfortunately is a very distorted picture.

And then there was a gentleman from one of those AID agencies talking to you about corrupt moral values. Can you really sit there far away in African and talk about the continent losing its moral values with whatever is going on in your own backyard. And am not trying to justify the sick acts being committed by those men.

There are problems in Africa, major ones for that matter but how you address them is counter productive, especially to the African man/woman who is trying to resolve the issues. If western help is to come it should not be based on guilt of living comfortably here. At the very least it should be of guilt of acknowledging that the comfort you have in partly due to the problems you see on that side.

Why are all these Militias fighting each other in Congo and who sponsors them? That wasn't covered. Did they cover the contracts American companies were signing with rebel/militia movement the moment the rebel seized an inch of land. This is just as bad as that situation in Sierra Leone with blood diamonds.

Please expose the whole problem so the typical American can connect the dots. And start with Lumumba, then to his assination and the coming of your Mobutu, the dictator you supported all along until you had no use for him anymore though he was robbing his people blind.

I am 100% sure CNN has the resources to do a much better job.

I am not surprised with the comments coming from the few here, it is exactly what i was expecting with such work.
Posted By Anonymous Mkangafu, San Jose California : 2:07 PM ET
It is very hard to come to terms with reality! You do a great service by bringing us these stories and showing us that we have a very long way to go as a race. We take false pride in words like "humanity".
Posted By Anonymous Simanta, Ames, IA : 2:13 PM ET
Where's Spike Lee and Jesse Jackson?
Posted By Anonymous Brad Gillette, Amery Wisconsin : 2:14 PM ET
As a Black female, I wish there were more of an outcry from Blacks here in the USA about the atrocities taking place in Africa. Sad doesn't begin to describe what's taking place on the entire continent of Africa.
Posted By Anonymous Angelia Perry, Vero Beach, FL : 2:14 PM ET
I think that it's really good of you guys to report on this thing that I didn't even know existed, while the rest of the media is stuck on Foley. Stay safe and keep up the good work.
Posted By Anonymous Kelli, Clayton NC : 2:15 PM ET
This is perhaps the most horrific example of evil I have ever read.
Posted By Anonymous Seth, West Chester PA : 2:18 PM ET
Anderson and Friends:

We have be taping your shows from Africa. We can feel your outrage thousands of miles away.

Thanks CNN for having minds of capitalists (to produce the Africa shows) and hearts of social workers.

Thank you for showing us the world and bringing it to our homes each and every night.
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 2:20 PM ET
Why are we so fixated on Mr. Foley's transgressions when something far more aggregious and on a much bigger scale is taking place in Africa? I appreciate the efforts being made to bring this information forward and am left wondering how we, as a nation, systematically reduce the genocide and the de-humanization of our women to the margins in our media. It doesn't matter where we are from or who we are, those precious and wounded girls are all of our daughters and all of our sisters. Until we really believe this- we won't be able to afford them the protection they are entitled to.
Posted By Anonymous Elisa, Sacramento, CA : 2:20 PM ET
What human being can look at a child and so violently take her innocence, then go on with life as though he's done his job?

As a woman, wife, and mother, I can't tell you how numb I am right now just reading your report. And I have so little hope that it will stop, sadly. We can help organizations like Heal Africa, but what are we doing to the animals that perpetrate this brutality????
Posted By Anonymous Laura Lappe, Lubbock, Texas : 2:22 PM ET
The comments by Mkangafu seem to be ignored by all the other posters after him/her.

The fact no one is debating his comments underlines how mis-informed and ignorant everyone is about the
socio-economic political situations we are living in today.

Whether you care to admit it or not:
the rich countries of the world are the reason we have such horrible things happening.

Connect the dots and you will see that our super consumer, junk, garbage making society, based on materialism and greed is responsibility for these horrible acts.

uh oh, my 3 month old Ipod is obsolete, I look like a fool, better go replace it...
Posted By Anonymous Haggisns, Toronto, Canada : 3:02 PM ET
Why have we not learned the lessons of the 1930s?

How can we let this happen again and again?...

And why aren't we willing to take responsibility or recognition for its existence?
Posted By Anonymous Keith Gargano, Smyrna GA : 3:03 PM ET
Angelia of Vero Beach----You're not getting it....So not a "color issue"....a HUMAN issue. Would you feel any less horrified if their skin color was white??? I wouldn't.
Posted By Anonymous Heidi Miami, FL : 3:06 PM ET
One comment here accused you of not telling the whole story. While that may be true, the history of Africa is a very complicated one. Africa has been used politically, economically, by religion and so on for gain. I don't doubt that is true and I can't say I know the whole tale. This person said that although he didn't condone these acts of violence in the Congo, he almost accuses you of sensationalizing the situation instead of looking at the big picture. He patronized the comments of people here saying they are acting out of guilt and luxery of being American.

I disagree. It's called compassion and any normal person would be outraged by the acts of violence committed against the women and children of the Congo. This has been going on for YEARS. I have seen many specials about it and this story needs to be told over and over. The fact is that people need to outraged. You can't solve all of Africa's problems overnite but many of us can't stand one more day of knowing that a child (a baby for God's Sake) is being GANG raped. These brutal men are in-human and as evil as evil can get. It needs to stop somehow and it starts with people being aware and yes, outraged.

Anderson, keep reporting the only way you know you can. It will help bring change. People will find out more about Africa and thier own government. For that person who thinks that the 20 dollar donation is just the same 20 dollars in savings from buying a motoroller cell phone, what are you trying to convey? Don't donate? No. Donate anyway. This cause is great and in desperate need whichever way you look at it. Ultimately.
Posted By Anonymous Christine Raposa, Griswold, CT : 3:16 PM ET
I read most of your answers. You people are not in touch with reality and what is going on around the world. American, get off you box, read more, travel more, and try to learn more. These are old news and it is going on forever. The government of many countries is corrupted and they don�t care about their people. All they care is how to enrich them selves.
Posted By Anonymous Russell, Plainivew, NY : 3:19 PM ET
The biggest problem in this world is MEN.
Posted By Anonymous Michelle, Washington DC : 3:25 PM ET
Two observations

1) There better be a lot of room in hell because it will continue to be a busy place

2) I concede that I do not fully understand the poltical, economic and socio intricacies that have generated these atrocities. I do know that we are doing virtually nothing to stop them. For that, we should all be ashamed
Posted By Anonymous Tim Spencer, Richmond VA : 3:25 PM ET
This is like watching the scariest horror move you can imagine and you know at the same time there is no "The End" I pray that God avenge's this little baby's suffering because a baby is what she is. What a shame, I'm heart sick right now.
Posted By Anonymous Peter, St.Paul,MN : 3:30 PM ET
TO: Posted By Mkangafu, San Jose California

Many people are aware of corruption. There is corruption EVERYWHERE, but does that have anything to do with or justify raping women???? And yes this actually is a HUGE deal for many countries in Africa. Africa has many problems, and not all of them can beblamed on the Western world. MEN chosing to rape women and children, disfigure them is not justified by anything.
Posted By Anonymous Njeri, NY : 3:31 PM ET
Heidi I think you are misunderstanding. I "feel" what Angela is saying. Our decendants are from there whether or not we can trace them back or not. All human beings should be outraged and tug on the pants of officials to help, but Black people in America have lost the focus of our own. My generation is more concerend about "bling-bling" than focusing on Africa.

Think of it like raising a child. Of course if you see a child hurt you will help them no matter if they are yours or not, but in your mind you ask where is this child's family?

We as humans need to wake up and help. It is surprising that George Clooney (Darfur) and Anderson Cooper are bringing this to light but not an African-American. I thank Anderson for bringing this forward maybe with this coverage many more will open up.
Posted By Anonymous Brandy, Chicago, IL : 3:42 PM ET

Why are you more angry about the way these stories are being broadcasted and not the stories themselves? It's NOT unfortunate to say that human beings respond to emotion thus these images will make us want to help. So what if we're "guilted" into helping. Help is help regardless of why you're helping. Redirect your anger towards the people committing these horrible acts. Not to the people showing us. Hatred and ignorance, like you're showing, are the seeds that give birth to these catastrophies. You may want to keep that in check.
Posted By Anonymous Cyn, Tupelo, Mississippi : 4:09 PM ET
As I read the comments, most expressing horror, a couple expressing anger(basically because they feel their land is being potrayed 'too negatively' and that theres more to it), the one thing I really see missing is this simple question...what can we do to make it better?

You cant pray to god to help make it all better , he , apparently doesnt give a damn, you cannot really solve this problem through military might (though its tempting); the only thing you can practically do...adopt kids from africa, or give money to aid organizations working there (which I will do as soon as I am done posting this), or go work there yourself.

expressing horror / sadness does nothing; trying to get the finger to point someplace else is even more useless. The only thing to do after reading something like this...pass this on to others and practically do something to help.
Posted By Anonymous Jay, Philadelphia, PA : 4:25 PM ET
Anderson, I sat at my computer for 10 minutes in shock, not knowing what to write about this act of PURE EVIL. It doesn't matter what I write, it wouldn't be enough. It's so incredibly sad that we are capable of these atrocities...
Posted By Anonymous Rubin Mendoza, Whittier, CA : 4:37 PM ET
That is horrible! I was gathering current events for my class when I saw this. I cried as I read what was going on! I, just like many others here in America, had no idea of what was going on. I wish you the best of luck. May God bless you.
Posted By Anonymous Christy, Knoxville, TN : 4:38 PM ET
I am African and I am sick of some Africans ever trying to blame their problems on the west & the western lifestyles. What is going on in Congo & many African countries is simply evil! You can never justify raping a child for whatever reason! Having spent a greater part of my life in Africa, I understand the root of [most] these problems is corruption in the political leadership. God bless you Anderson for bringing these to light.
Posted By Anonymous Akin, Austin TX : 4:41 PM ET
To Cyn, Tupelo:
Believe me, I do not have any hate in me and I am not as ignorant as you might assume especially in regards to Africa. I am just pragmatic about the challenges we face in Africa. I believe in long lasting solutions not patch up work. Stories like these generate the kinda of "guilt" you feel which unfortunately tends to be short term.

A better representation of the story however will allow people to see the bigger picture and those commiting to help in that bigger picture will hopefully be working on a long term solution. It would not be a guilt act, but one based on your own conscience. That tends to last longer.

By the way, its ignorant to think hatred and ignorance are seeds that give birth to these catastrophies. Its deeper than that, and that part is what is missing from this type of coverage.
Posted By Anonymous Mkangafu, San Jose CA : 4:44 PM ET
Holy crap. This is just awful. I teach elementary school and the thought of anything like this happening to one of my girls just terrifies me. I think the reason stories like these remain largely untold is because here in the relative safety of the states we don't want to know about the horrors that occur in other places in the world. What we don't understand is that everytime something like this happens it does affect us. We are touched by it because we live on the same planet as this sweet girl and the more we try to turn away and act like its not happening or not our problem we lose one more bit of the humanity we have left in us. Its not that it happened to a little girl in Africa, it's that it happened at all that makes me fear how much more inhumane we can possibly become.
Posted By Anonymous raquel, los angeles : 4:47 PM ET
Reading this is enraging. What is more enraging is reading about it and not doing anything. It's one thing to feel bad, but we should feel worse if we sit on the sidelines as an observer.

I made my $20 donation. No it's not much, but if thousands of people would give even 1/2 that, think of the difference it could make.
Posted By Anonymous Jacob, Arlington, TX : 4:48 PM ET
Perhaps your next report could be about forced female circumcison which is practiced in parts of Isla mic Africa.
Posted By Anonymous mick in the UK : 4:57 PM ET
Njeri is right. Corruption is everywhere. I was frustrated by some of it even today here in Congo but then I read about the well respected congressman from my home town going to jail for selling influence and it gives me some perspective.

The story of even the recent war in Congo is so complex and secretive, people in other parts of the world generally don't even try to talk about it or understand it. (Darfur is much easier to falsely condense into a 45 second news piece.)

I don't claim to fully understand what has happened here in DRC, but I am trying to listen and learn. The recent war has hidden causes and it is about profiteering for a lot of people of various races, creeds and nationalities who like money more than human life. (Like an international cookie jar for illicit profit.) It's about legacies of a brutal colonial/postcolonial history and crazy Cold War era politics.

I hope that some will be motivated to real change by the stories presented on CNN. I hope they will be motivated to look deeper and to spread the word, to recognize that the West has played a detrimental role, and that Congolese lives are just as valuable as American ones.

As long as we can comfortably stay far enough away from the truth that those in deep suffering are not "the other" but they are part of us- we will not be reconciled. We will at best salve the festering wound with aid donations (not all bad, and not always good). But if we can get serious about justice, build real relationships with people who are poor and who suffer and help find ways to encourage them in their struggle (while also learning from them), allow ourselves to be changed, our frame of vision widened... Then perhaps true healing will begin.
Posted By Anonymous Brian Becker, Kisangani, DR Congo : 5:05 PM ET
There is no crime more horrible than rape, and raping babies is not barbaric or inhuman ... it's just pure evil. I am not preaching my religion here, but I am at a loss what else to call this. You wonder what kind of lives these rapists have lived. What goes on in their minds, and what drives them to disregard and destroy others existence. All the wondering however, does not cure the malaise that is afflicting Africa. The evil cycle of poverty, ignorance, dictatorship and corruption is at work. Doing the great work that many non-profits are performing in Africa helps to ease the pain for some, but does not reduce the overall suffering, nor does it eradicate this evil cycle. There is one proven way to break this cycle: By breaking one of the links in this cycle, the rest of the links will be destroyed over time. Poverty can't be eradicated first because corrupt officials are in the way. Corruption can't be eradicated because dictators are in the way. Overthrowing dictators is useless, because ignorance will breed other dictators. Only an informed, intellectually capable population can rid themselves of dictatorship, corruption and therefore poverty. To break the devil's back, support organizations that are dedicated to eradication of ignorance ... in Africa and everywhere else.
Posted By Anonymous Sam Manafi, Lake Oswego, OR : 5:06 PM ET
Something is mentally wrong with these people. Are they even human? How could they do such a thing to a little girl, let alone a woman in front of her children. Sick. I can't even imagine the horror those woman and children have to live with.

To all the torturers - you are not a man. You are an animal. You are not even an animal. You are filth, dirt. When you die you WILL be going to hell. Thank yourself for that.
Posted By Anonymous Angela F. Marysville,WA : 5:10 PM ET
Nothing can explain or justify the horror of the acts committed so any explanation to that effect cannot go down well. However, I feel it is important to know the whole story. What makes men do such things...the part that is so scary to me is that such stories are so common in war ravaged regions...which means that evil lurks inside most men...given certain circumstances, men, seemingly normal will act upon their most primal instincts, even to the extent of stealing the innocence of a little child...
Posted By Anonymous Charu, Orlando, FL : 5:10 PM ET
Mkangafu and Njeri and all-- Your points are well stated and point to bigger stories needing to be told.
Anderson-- this is your responsibility; to tell the bigger story
All-- we must look ultimately to ourselves an within ourselves to heal our own wounds and those wounds we have created around us. We are now aware of these atrocities and have been for some while. What are we doing to help. Heal ourselves and donate $20 and start talking w your friends about what you have read here. Wear and arm band for protest and awareness. No more witty chit chat until the story has spread and the nation's voice of anger rises for a change.
Posted By Anonymous Anne Medfrod OR : 5:12 PM ET

I feel revolted, sickened. I want to help. Have already made a donation. But I just can't get my head around the violence - the brutality. Why do people do this?

I can understand a moment of rage but not this repeated brutality. What do the perpetrators say?

I just keep coming back to - why?
Posted By Anonymous Cassie Dallas, PA : 5:17 PM ET
This makes my life seem so wonderful and easy in comparison. Truly, truly horrible stuff.
Posted By Anonymous Emilie, Florham Park, NJ : 5:20 PM ET
I am completely gutted over this story. I feel so helpless when I read things like this. My heart breaks for people under these circumstances.
Posted By Anonymous Richard Spatafora, NYC, NY : 5:21 PM ET
I know many people say to themselves or out loud "Why doesn't GOD do something about this" and I bet GOD's answer would be "I did...I SENT YOU"!

I commend the efforts of those who are working so hard with so little support from the world community of goernment leaders.

Can we please abolish the UN once and for all. It is so pathetically useless and corrupt.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Martinez, Houston, TX : 5:24 PM ET
This is such an unbelievable story. It just makes you want to do something about it as you read the article.
Posted By Anonymous Miguel Munoz, Addison, IL : 5:27 PM ET
I hope you continue to bring to light the conditions in Africa. Its about time someone did what you all are doing. Thankyou.
Posted By Anonymous Bonnie S., Grand Rapids MN : 5:29 PM ET
So why don't we have multinational forces there handling real problems like protecting women and children from an epidemic of sexual crimes?

I'd be deeply saddened if Americans and the rest of the world didn't find it a worthy cause to fight and die for.
Posted By Anonymous Jason, Brea, Ca : 5:39 PM ET
I don't think that there is anything that can be said that expresses the magnitude of wrong that went on, that goes on, whether it is in the Congo or in Darfur or frankly anywhere in the world today. It is a horrifying, ugly, and heart-wrenching situation.
But frankly what it comes down to is this - a little girl was raped. I don't care what anyone's motives were or what country she was in. She, and the otherchildren who have been raped, should always be the most important part of any story. People can argue all they want about why we donate or what caused the situation, but all we should care about now is how to take care of that little girl. She's still a baby. I don't know what else need be said.
I gave my $25.
Our children should be everything to us. God, I just don't know what else to say.
Posted By Anonymous Rachel Bernhard, Hanover, NH : 5:39 PM ET
I agree there is a 'bigger story' here. However, no corruption or poverty in the world should make a person lose their HUMANITY. Making a connection between the "super consumer, junk, garbage making society" and the compulsion to steal the very innocence of a child is reaching a bit too far.
Posted By Anonymous B. Winters, Hollywood, Florida : 5:39 PM ET
To even think of this for a nanosecond is practically unbearable. I cannot imagine actually experiencing it. It is beyond all nightmares for these girls and women. I hate to sound vengeful and graphic, but I wish the men who did these things could all be physically castrated (not just chemically) and put in pain for the rest of their lives. I could actually envision doing worse things to them, but I can't say it. Perhaps if men really, truly had to pay for the crime of rape, it would be much more rare.
Posted By Anonymous Emily, Nashville TN : 5:39 PM ET
Of course, I am outraged, but not really surprised at what's happening to the women & children in the Congo. What's just as bad is the response of their husbands- kicking them out because they're "damaged goods". Are there any men in that country who respect women? Who is teaching them these kind of values?
Posted By Anonymous Patricia Sanders, Cincinnati Ohio : 5:40 PM ET
I really couldn't even read this entire post. It is so horrific. If I was not already aware of the situation in Africa, I would have forced myself to read it, but I just decided to stop reading after the first few paragraphs and avoid the terrible feeling that results. While I turned away from the story, there is no excuse for the apathy of our government and other governments. They could be doing something, anything, to intervene in these hellish circumstances. I think I would rather be dead than live in fear like these poor unfortunate people. Keep up the good work, Anderson. It seems like you are the only journalist who cares about bringing these issues to the forefront.
Posted By Anonymous LaReeca Rucker, Ridgeland, MS : 5:43 PM ET
Unfortunately, Mkangafu's comments are not only true in Africa, but is and has been the real glitch in USA foreign policies for decades around the world and centuries of the explotation by colonization, Manifest Destiny. The atrocities in Africa are in the open for anyone with courage and access to see.
Fast forwarding to the comments to 'safety in the US' and 'press focus on Foley's Folly', I would say that the sophistication of the system in developed countries should not be allowed to fool people into thinking that these issues are separate. The moral outrage should be universal. That the out of sight, out of mind, might is right scenario that enabled the 'situation in Africa' is the same in the USA and other parts of the world. Abuse is abuse and needs to be addressed where ever it exists.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 5:50 PM ET
How will donating money help stop the brutality? Money is literally a band-aid in this case. The only thing that will help is when all people decide to accept responsibility for their thoughts and actions. Then we might be able to reap the benefit of a moral world.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy, Wichita KS : 5:53 PM ET
How come the men who rape these women and children are not brought to justice? As a counsler/social worker it is heart breaking to see yet another broken system. What a sad story.
Posted By Anonymous april Pocalujka Lansing, Michigan : 5:55 PM ET
Blah blah blah...SEND MONEY.

As if I'm supposed to feel guilty because all Africans have done for the past 50 years is slaughter each other. If they want to live like animals, let them.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Boston, MA : 5:56 PM ET
How could Dan from Lakewood, CO comment that these things do not happen in our country? There is no safety here from this very type of betrayal. We have been going through an epidemic of sexual predator related crimes,sexual scandals in the church and politics, rapes, sodomy, sexual exploitation, pornography and enslavement of children and he does not see this on a daily basis???
Posted By Anonymous Elsa Pasadena, CA : 6:15 PM ET
Hi Anderson,
I saw this story on your show last night. I couldn't stop thinking about it and still can't. I don't think this issue was brought up on your show, but what happens if the rape victim gets pregnant? Are the doctors performing abortions, or are these rape babies born into this hell that the other women and children have to live in eventually to rape or be raped?
Your compassion is so genuine, not only on this story but all the other tragedies you enlighten us with. Glad that you and CNN are focusing on these issues rather than who is gay or K-Fed and Britney having babies once a year! Keep up the great work and please be careful!
Posted By Anonymous Terri, Issaquah wa : 6:19 PM ET
Posted By Mkangafu, San Jose CA : 4:44 PM ET

Your first post seemed to blame the horrors committed by individuals in Africa against other individuals on the West.Your second post made more sense.Why didnt you just say that the first time.Some things Americans are good at,are recognizing excuses..and being open to learning the truth.But fighting political corruption and stopping madmen from being madmen are two different battles.I don't think it's your intention ..but..It "almost" seems like a form of horrifying blackmail to "suggest" the west needs to wake up to its involvement in corporate corruption or the rapes and mutilations will not stop.That gives the madmen something they do not deserve..legitimacy.
Posted By Anonymous Shawna,Boston,Ma : 6:20 PM ET
Donating money can be great for many cases, but where is the concern for changing the situation??
As sick and evil as these atrocities are - sending $20 is not helping anyone. It is not keeping men from raping women and children. Not keeping governments from being corrupt. Not changing foreign relations.
and to everyone who is shocked by this - please, please, please start really reading the real news and then welcome your selves to reality. tom cruise and paris hilton is not reality.
Posted By Anonymous Lynne, Seattle WA : 6:24 PM ET
Aside from Heal Africa, are there policy makers or government bodies to whom we can address these types of issues in Africa (and the rest of the world)? What about the UN and its sub-groups?

I would really appreciate any feedback.

Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous Leslie Park-Lichtenstein, Chicago IL : 6:26 PM ET
This isn't a individual race issue, it is the Human Race, and I think we need to start thinking of ourselves as the human race and not black, white, asian, ect.
That isn't to be mean - but I'm a bit offended that someone brought up the fact that they were surprised that a man of caucasian decent brought up the story. Hate, evil, and ignorance spans through all races and we are in this fight TOGETHER.

Instead of fuming about the ignorance of Americans, lets talk about what Americans can do to make it better.
Lets push aside the negitivity and anger and try to be productive - what can we do to better the world? What can one person do to better the world?

Thanks, Anderson, for this blog. I thought you included facts many don't know - and in turn, helped those people to become less ignorant, even if it is just a bit.
Posted By Anonymous Nicole, San Francisco, California : 6:28 PM ET
Anderson, A truly touching, heart wrenching account. It reminds me of a song by the Canadian singer Bruce Cockburn, "If I Had a Rocket Launcher". In it, he laments inhumanity of the kind your story recounts and ends the song with the line, "If I had a rocket launcher, some son of a bitch would die...". Very appropriate. But I'd like to pose a rhetorical question to you. If Bush sent in 5,000 Marines to stop the bloodshed, protect the innocent, kill the murderers when fired upon, do you honestly think he'd get your support? Or support from others in the national media? Would the democrats support him? Or would they attack the policy, find fault in everything, second guess all decisions, highlight the first American casualty, run stories suggesting how dare we impose our will, our sense of morality?? I like you and your show a lot, but you and I--and I suspect most of your viewers--know the answer to these questions. And to me, that is almost as sad as the situation in Africa itself.
Posted By Anonymous Eric Tyler, Texas : 6:28 PM ET
I just like to say hello to all people of organizations who are helping the people of africa we are praying for you and for the staff and crew of AC360 and for Mr. Anderson Cooper, Mr. Sanjay Gupta ang Mr. Jeff Koinage. I hope next week you'll still feature africa becuase there are still more stories waiting to be told to everybody.
Posted By Anonymous Jemillex Bacerdo, Chicago,IL : 2:18 PM ET
Dear Anderson
It's been an emotional news week: the Amish girls, D.C. upheavel, and your story on the Congo; well, I've had a good cry every day. But that's what it's going to take to heal this planet; for the haves' to lend a hand to the have nots, and your standing as the eyes, ears, and speaker for our brothers and sisters in our human race, especially our sisters, is exemplary! Oprah did a similar story on the rapes and fistulas of these women and children, but your presentation will reach a broader audience, so the men can cry with us, the women, who already understand this situation. Together, men and women and nations working together can heal The Congo, and each other. This 'domestic violence' is rampant and highly visible in the Congo, but it exists everywhere, hidden and shameful. Thank you, Anderson, for speaking plainly and compassionatly for these victims. The truth about this sort of violence is bubbling to the surface by journalists such as Oprah and yourself, and as the lid is lifted off of this unspoken secret and tragedy, the healing has begun. As a journalist myself, you are an inspiration to my work. P.S. loved the gorillas, especially the baby sniffing your armpit -thanks for showing that - god, I needed a giggle at that point. Prayers for your continal safety and wisdom
Sincerely, Kathy Martin, Reno, NV
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Martin, Reno, NV : 3:16 PM ET
I don't know which infuriates me more, what is happening to all of those innocent people or the ignorance of others. In school today a kid actually remarked that they were being punished by god!

I thought I was going to slap her, but instead I asked her,"Why would anyone do that?" Her only responce was they are not christians. It is pathetic how ignorant most of my peers are. Should they be pitied for their false realities or scorned?

I don't pretend that I understand much of what happens, after all a kid can only comprehend so much.

Why is my generation so apathetic? Being children does not excuse the cruel ignorance and hatred they so often express.
Posted By Anonymous Hannah, Tulsa, Oklahoma : 5:14 PM ET
I always listen to your stories and I know your stories sepecially the African stories are not asking for our tears. I am angry, feel so powerless and voiceless for just as a human being live in orderly North American. Let's don't talk about Government, Can you tell me how can we do to help those women and children? What do they need us to do, instead of only knowing we are "white guy, white guy".
Posted By Anonymous Shan, Toronto, Ontario : 5:23 PM ET
I realize these atrocities are absolute horrible but, once again, the United States is expected to "fix" the situation. Don't you people get it? We're not wanted in third world countries, bossing them around. When this country gets itself in shape, then we should go out and help other countries. Fix home first! Adopt African babies one writer says?, what about the American babies needing homes!
Posted By Anonymous gene, dallas, texas : 5:23 PM ET
Hey Anderson-
You have all done an exemplary job of reporting the problems within Africa. To say your stories have touched my heart would be an understatement. Lots of people I have visited with are talking about your program and the suffering going on in the Congo and Darfuf. I know that this important message is being heard. Maybe the birth of something good is coming to these people. Please keep us updated about these issues.Thanks so much for caring. You are appreciated!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 5:25 PM ET
Hey Anderson, I am a Congolese and a Criminology and Political science student. I deeply appreciate your coverage on what has been going on in my beloved country since 1998. I understand the feeling of some of my countrymen who may disagree with the way the situation is covered, but i think the most important job you are doing is bringing AWARENESS of wicked, selfish and unjustified war that has killed nearly 4 million congolese men , women and children.
No one and no reason is enough or legitimate to justify a GANG rape or any kind of rape of a 3 year old girl or any woman, this is just too much from my countrymen or the rwandese soldiers involved in the conflicts.
I know and I agree that it is a game in the african mentality to throw all the blame of our sufferings on the western countries, but i think it's time we also face the reality and accept the part of responsability in our misery. Why can an African accept to get a gun and money from a western citizen to fight another african at the time not even the richest man in Africa with all his money will ever be able to convince the poorest western citizen to get a gun and destabilise his government? Something is wrong, and we as african we should first fix that before always blaming european or americans. Do not misunderstand me, i am not saying WESTERN countries have nothing to do with what is happening in my beloved Congo, there is a clear and easily demonstrable shared responsabilities in the atrocities and violence in the rich Congo.
We might spend nights talking about who to blame, but it will not help prevent soldiers and gang from raping women and babies in the Congo. We better think, as some have suggested, about ways we can help find a durable solution that will restore dignity and hope to the congolese population, mostly to those women who have been traumatised by evil and unhuman acts of some selfish and wicked men. This has to stop and i thank you Anderson for bringing this up. For many years i was wandering why no one was willing to cover the situation of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Deep thanks Anderson and keep it up.

Josu� Kibambe , Ottawa- Canada
Posted By Anonymous Josu� Kibambe, Ottawa, Canada : 6:06 PM ET
There is a popular book that talks and looks at the congo from an ignorant missionary implanted in the region perspective. The book is called "The Poisonwood Bible", and even now as I look it the truth in that novel, and the fact that as time goes on the atrocities and ignorance only escalates in a world that is so connected, and I am baffeled. We are all so connected to each other that none of us is innocent, none of us can say "we didn't know" like this family could. We all know now, we are seeing tradgedies play out around us daily, children dissapearing, Amish girls being massacered, New Orleans, 9/11, there is terror everywhere in every way today it seems in every part of the world. It is not because of the terrorists, it is because of the ordinary people everyday that sit, and watch, and comment, and still do nothing. We allow this to festor and grow, we allow evil to develope, we are guilty too.
Posted By Anonymous Christine Hunt Aurora Ontario Canada : 7:41 PM ET
I was disappointed in the rape analysis - fistulas are caused not just by gang rape but by gang rape of MUSLIM women who have first suffered circumcision, clitoris and infibulation by their own families, something the doctor conveniently left out of his explanation. Look a little deeper Cooper - the women and children cannot go home because it is a Muslim society --- tell the WHOLE story not just the politically correct parts.
Posted By Anonymous V Ray, Janesville WI : 8:04 PM ET

This breaks my heart to hear and read stories like this. It is truly saddening that people have to live like this. We as americans take so much for granted that some of the people out there do not have an ounce of a clue how the other half of the world lives. Being from another country and living in America, I consider myself to be lucky yet shameful to realize that most americans have no clue how good we have it.

Please continue to provide your stories and insight to us. We as a country and as human beings need to realize and understand the human pain that people suffer day in and day out in other parts of the world.

Keep up the great work....looking forward to reading your future books.
Posted By Anonymous Sejal, Wilmington, MA : 9:10 PM ET
Today the surrounding areas where I live, raised funds on the radio, to help the children living with HIV and aids in Africa. It's a blessing to know, that we can join hands together, to help in some small way, the many suffering children living there.
Posted By Anonymous Marlene Manitoba Canada : 9:20 PM ET
Dear Anderson, It is about time that someone has taken the reins in his hands about the growing problems in Africa. Thank you for being one of those peopele who are bringing those problems to the forefront. It's amazing to me that this sort of problem can be happening in this the 21st century and many people remain blind to it. May God bless you in your endeavors to help make things right for these people who suffer needlessly.
Posted By Anonymous Sue Olsen, Sandy, Utah : 11:46 PM ET
Mr. Anderson:
I was touched by your coverage and realized that I'm no better than those who are less fortunate. If there's anything that I can do to help, I will. Thank you for your dedication for this wonderful task. Keep up with your good work!
Posted By Anonymous Mayuree, Orem, UT : 1:47 AM ET
The situation is dire, awful, and shameful. All the relief workers,social workers, and yes even reporters seemed discouraging. I'm sure being surrounded by such strife there's no other way to report it because it's such an awful situation. It seemed only in passing was the resolve and strenth of the people mentioned.Where is the hope?
Posted By Anonymous Cheryl, Johnston Rhode Island : 9:41 AM ET
Thank you for journaling. It's almost a lost art. I disconnected my cable TV and the only program I truly miss is 360. Thank you also for being the conscience of our generation.
Posted By Anonymous Anne-Marie, Hallandale Beach, FL : 1:32 AM ET
Thanks for the great reporting. It was difficult to watch and once in bed for the night, those sad eyes haunted me for hours. This only makes me aware that I need to personally do something about it. I feel guilty for having several homes and lots to eat and a safe place to come to.

The gorilla experience was truly awesome. I yearned to be there the entire time to see them. What a special moment for you.

God Bless,
Jo Ann Schloe
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann, Hugo, MN : 6:35 PM ET
First off, I really appreciate you bringing all of these conflicts and situations to people's attention, so that things can be done to stop the violence and start to give people a better life.
The main reason I'm writing this is to let people know (if they don't already) that there will be concerts all over the US on October 21. has it posted on their web site giving details. The organization in charge of all of this is called Oxfam America. I checked out their web site and they stated with 70% of the money raised got to relief and in emergencies over 90% does.
If you don't want to go to the concert you can also donate on their web site (which you can get to by going to the web site)or by phone.
So just a little FYI.
Thanks again for a job well done in the reporting department. It is really appreciated.
Posted By Anonymous Ginni Paynesville, MN : 10:27 PM ET
Dear Anderson,

Thank you so much for your reports on the Congo and on the humanitarian and human crisis it is still facing.

I commend you for your courage in talking about a humanitarian crisis that is often orphaned and forgotten by most media. We so often hear of Darfur in the American media, but the crisis in the Congo often seems to be forgotten if not ignored.

As you discovered during your visit of my beautiful country, its people is welcoming and warm towards strangers. We are resilient even though life seems to constantly throw us curved balls.

We have survived more than 30 years of Mobutu's dictatorship and are still standing even though he was ousted and thrown into exile only to be replaced by another dictator.

All I hope is that one day we can finally live in peace and not have to fear an authoritative government, a rebellion or political and financial instability. I hope and pray for the day my people can finally stand on its feet as a free people. Free to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As you have discovered, our country is so rich (fertile soil, diamonds, gold, copper, zinc, uranium, tin, coltran, etc.) but most Congolese have never enjoyed or benefited from any of those riches.

Thank you,

Posted By Anonymous Moleli, Orlando, FL : 12:25 PM ET
Incredibly powerful coverage. Incredibly sad to think that this is going on without any real concern shown by our country. This is a true 'reality' show. Unfortunately, the other so called 'reality shows' seem to fascinate, interest and motivate the TV audiences of our time.
Whilst the view through your lens is but a small portion of what is really going on, it's an enormous amount of exposure of these horrific conditions.
Posted By Anonymous Jack O'Donnell, San Antonio, Texas : 5:35 PM ET
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.

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