"And what really gripped me is they said a major weapon of war in this conflict is rape," Lynne Hybels said. Thousands "of Congolese women and girls had been raped." (Photo: LynneHybels.com)
"I heard those statistics in 2008 and thought, 'That can't be true. If something this awful were going on in the world, I'd know about it.' And so I started doing some research and found out that it was in fact true."
That's what Lynne Hybels remembers about an NPR story that changed her life. Hybels, co-founder of Willow Creek Community Church, spoke recently with EthicsDaily.com via Skype about the outcome of hearing that story: her work in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The interview is now live on Vimeo.
Lynne Hybels: Skype Interview from EthicsDaily on Vimeo.
"They made two points," says Hybels of the radio segment on the Congo she heard four years ago. "They said that this is the deadliest conflict since World War II. At that point, about 5.4 million people had died in the conflict. Now it's risen above that."
"They also said that nearly a million people had been displaced from their homes – villagers who had to flee from their homes because of violence," says Hybels. "And what really gripped me is they said a major weapon of war in this conflict is rape. Vicious brutal rape of women and girls so that thousands of Congolese women and girls had been raped."
After her own research backed up the story's claims, Hybels says she looked for organizations working in the Congo. She found World Relief and traveled herself to the DRC in 2009. She saw the horror firsthand.
"But I also saw the hope because of what local Congolese churches were doing to care for these women who had been brutalized," says Hybels. She was struck by the work of the local churches there and knew she wanted to return.
She formed a group of 10 women – an initiative called Ten for Congo. Seven traveled, while three stayed home and provided support from there.
Hybels tells more of the story in the interview, now live on Vimeo.
Watch the interview with Hybels at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/skype-lynnehybels
Visit Lynne Hybels online at lynnehybels.com
Visit World Relief Congo at worldrelief.org
See Christine Anderson's photos of Congolese women at Congo Journal
Watch other EthicsDaily.com Skype interviews at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily