June 16, 2009

Corporate Social Responsibility and Rape-Free Products

Have you ever considered what your cell phone or ipod has to do with ending violence against women in conflict zones?

Eve Ensler--playwright (The Vagina Monologues), activist, and founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence among women and girls (http://www.vday.org/) - spoke to a packed audience at the D7: All Things Digital conference. No, Ensler was not there to buy a new computer; she was there to speak out on the connection between one of the major natural resources the Democratic Republic of Congo and the rape of over 1,100 women a month. Ensler showed these followers of the digital revolution that to further the mining of coltan, or columbite tantalite, a mineral that is essential to the manufacturing of a variety of electronics such as cellphones, ipods, and computers, rape is being used as a weapon of war.

According to John Paczkowski, author of "Eve Ensler calls for Rape-Free Cell Phones" (article here), Ensler says that "the coltan trade in the Congo has created a sort of 'Blood Diamond' situation there, with militias using violence and rape as a means of controlling the trade. She recounts some truly horrific examples of the type of violence against women." She continues to explain "that militias gain control of the mines by fracturing communities with rape, using sexual violence to control slave labor as well."

As a result, Ensler started the discussion about not only raising consumer awareness on the human right atrocity that infiltrates our daily life, but challenging corporations to take action by creating rape-free products. Ensler argues that this may be a very good marketing strategy for companies. As for the everyday person, sharing this information alone and raising awareness is key. Every phone call or text message is a reminder that the world is more interconnected than ever, and that our choices at home can have a profound impact on the lives of people on the other side of the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share Your Voice