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OUT NOW: Co-Founder and Director of City of Joy, a Leadership Center for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Democratic Republic of Congo, Gives TED Talk on “Turning Pain Into Power”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, February 23, 2024
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OUT NOW: Co-Founder and Director of City of Joy, a Leadership Center for Survivors of Sexual Violence in Democratic Republic of Congo, Gives TED Talk on “Turning Pain Into Power”

Christine Schuler Deschryver How Rape is Used as Weapon Over Congo’s Vast Mineral Resources, How City of Joy Helps Break the Cycle of Victimization to Empower Survivors

Today, TED released a new TED Talk featuring Christine Schuler Deschryver, co-founder and director of City of Joy and V-DAY Congo, a leadership center for survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on the five tenets of City of Joy’s program and titled “The 5 Tenets of Turning Pain into Power.”

In the TED Talk, Deschryver details how rape is often used as a weapon in the war over the Democratic Republic of Congo’s vast mineral resources, and how City of Joy helps survivors empower themelves, breaking the destructive cycle that sexual violence often has on individuals and communities.


“The reason for this unrelenting violence is an ongoing proxy war for the country’s vast mineral resources, which are essential to the production of your computers, phones, and electronics. In Congo, rape is a weapon of war used by militias to rip apart our communities resulting in catastrophic sexual violence, political upheaval, displacement, and disease. But the Democratic Republic of Congo is also a place of extreme beauty, lush greenery, and lakes and forests, where anything can grow if you plant it. Our people are beautiful, fierce, and generous,” explained Christine Schuler Deschryver. “Our women are creative. When they dance, they change the world.”

Christine has called Bukavu in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo her home all her life. After her best friend was murdered in 1998, Christine devoted her life to the women of Congo and to ending ‘sexual terrorism.’

Christine is Co-Founder and Director of the City of Joy and Director of V-Day Congo and oversees all aspects of V-Day’s work on the ground in the DRC, including V-World Farm, managing a staff of 200, and coordinating campaign activities on the local, provincial, and national levels.

City of Joy is a transformational leadership community for women survivors of violence, in Bukavu, a region plagued by an ongoing proxy war for the area’s vast mineral resources. Since opening in 2011, 2069 women have graduated from the City of Joy, healed themselves, been nurtured, learned new skills, empowered themselves and joined into a network of love and revolution. These women have released massive trauma and horrific memories. They have danced, sung, learned their rights, performed plays, developed agricultural skills, and come to love their bodies. They have become leaders in their communities. They are no longer stigmatized for being raped.

These women are forces of energy and determination, entrepreneurs of small businesses, initiators of collectives, restaurants owners, farmers with new land, educators and advocates on sexual violence, volunteers in a self-created recruiting network for new women at the center, journalists, immigration workers, tailors, students, herbalists, and more. 42 graduates are employed at V-World Farm, a large sustainable farm run by V-Day Congo. City of Joy serves 90 survivors of gender violence, aged 18 to 30 at a time.

Christine is an internationally renowned human rights activist. She was named one of The Guardian’s Women of the Year for 2011 and travels widely advocating for Congolese women’s rights. She is featured in the documentary City of Joy, participated in the documentary film, Congo, Un Combat Pour La Vie (France 2 Envoyé Epécial), in 2003 to denounce the silent genocide in DRC and following its success, has participated in many other documentary and news projects. She is also the Vice President of Panzi Foundation DRC.

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