By Ajea Stupart – 1851 Staff
On Tuesday, October 6 scholar-activist, Dr. Lee Ann De Reus inspired change in de Witt Hall. De Reus, an Associate Professor of Human Development & Family Studies and Women Studies at Pennsylvania State University- Altoona, delivered a message entitled “Daring to Make a Difference: Activism, Congo, and Finding Your Voice for Global Change.”
As a scholar-activist, De Reus travels regularly to Panzi Hospital in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to con- duct research, develop programs for rape survivors, and inform her advocacy work in the United States.
In her message, she talked about conflict minerals as well as how there is no silver lining for ending both the violence and the problem within Congo. While the top three minerals in our cell phones, television sets, and gaming de- vices include tin, tantalum, and tungsten, many women in Congo are dis- owned from families, sexually assaulted, or abused.
“When I share women’s stories, I am be- ing the megaphone for them,” said De Reus. But luckily, with the help of De Reus and the Panzi Foundation USA, services are provided for sexualized violence while aiming to raise awareness of the challenges faced in Congo. For the work she does in Bukavu, Congo, she said it is important to create a holistic model of care for women. “Many times when a woman leaves the hospital after being cared for, [no one] knows what is going to happen to her next,” said De Reus.
Being a social injustice activist since grad school, De Reus co-leads annual field experience trips for students to Rwanda and Mozambique.
“We have a choice, how we’re going to leave our mark,” she said. “We’re not going to have change unless we do something.”
De Reus knows how important it is to think about ways we can leave our mark on the world. In her talk, she il- lustrated we must come together to talk about pressing issues and understand how privilege impacts change. “It is incredibly humbling being able to do this kind of work. It’s a great gig to be able to combine my passion and loves.
When we think of all that’s going on in the world, we just can’t sit idly by,” De Reus said.