Field Notes

Field Notes

March/April 2013

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Inside PROOF

  • Friends and Colleagues
  • Traveling with PROOF:
    Washington D.C. and Geneva
  • Interview With Leora

In the News

  • Our New Website: It's a Beauty!
  • Save the Date for Our Annual Benefit Auction
  • Call for Entries for Emerging Photojournalist Award
  • Stéphane Hessel and Angélica Bello:  a Life Fulfilled and a Tragic Loss

A Survivor of rape from the Democratic Republic of Congo, featured in PROOF's latest exhibition, "The Legacy of Rape". Photo: Pete Muller.


Inside PROOF


Friends and Colleagues

As we extend our reach, we at PROOF are working to advance our mission of building peace through visual storytelling. Our exhibits are traveling to areas of severe conflict, such as Goma, DRC. And we are partnering with a growing list of international organizations that strive to bring justice to survivors and stop human rights abuses.

Traveling with PROOF:
Washington D.C. and Geneva

Stemming from recent fieldwork, our latest exhibition, “The Legacy of Rape” captured viewers’ attention at both the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington D.C. and an international film festival in Geneva.

In both venues, people lingered to take in the pictures and read the testimonies on our dramatic 10-foot-high panels.

Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, USA, at the Missing Peace symposium in March at the United States Institute of Peace. Photo: PROOF

Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, USA, at the Missing Peace symposium in March at the United States Institute of Peace. Photo: PROOF

In mid-February, “The Legacy of Rape” exhibition graced the lobby area outside the main auditorium of the U.S. Institute of Peace during the Missing Peace Symposium 2013: Sexual Violence in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings.

The symposium brought together academics, policymakers, practitioners, and survivors from around the globe to explore this multifaceted problem and look into potential solutions stemming from recent research.

Then from March 1 to 10, "The Legacy of Rape" was on display in the theater lobby of the Grütli Center in Geneva for the 11th International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights.

On the evening of March 2, PROOF Director Leora Kahn spoke about her fieldwork at a reception given by our partner organization TRIAL (Track Impunity Always).

In the interview below, she covers some of the same ground, discussing her work with rape survivors this past April in Colombia and then in September in Sri Lanka.

 

Host an Event

This month a group of friends got together at Dr. Roger Harris’s house to raise money for PROOF. After a full-day poker tournament, they raised $5,000 for the cause.

We kicked off fundraising this year with our Bubble Lounge event in January, and we plan more of these “meet and greet” events for young professionals.

To support our work in Sri Lanka, we launched a Kickstarter project to fund the publishing of a booklet with USAID that local peacebuilding groups can use to gather stories of local rescuers.

If you would like to host any type of event, please email us at  info@proof.org or call us at 212-213-2788.

Donate to PROOF

Every dollar you donate helps bring our projects to life. We use your donations to hire translators, photographers, researchers, drivers, and many other types of help and expertise. We also need money to create our exhibitions and enable them to travel, including in areas where conflict persists.

Partner With PROOF

During the past year, we added three new partner organizations. We’re always interested in forming new partnerships. Email or call us to discuss possible avenues of collaboration with your organization.


Interview With Leora

PROOF's Executive Director, Leora Kahn, in Sri Lanka.

PROOF's Executive Director, Leora Kahn, in Sri Lanka.

What were your first impressions when you met the survivors?
I was deeply impressed by their courage in speaking out despite the presence of strong social taboos as well as strength that they drew from their compassion and support for one another.

In both countries [Colombia and Sri Lanka], they were an incredibly warm, open group of women who had been through and survived the most horrific experiences. It was a humbling experience, and I was honored to spend my time with them.

What are their most pressing needs? What would they like to happen?
They have many needs most of which, sadly, remain unmet, including medical care and psychosocial and group support.

Besides the lack of state recognition and support, many of these women struggle with condemnation and rejection from their families and community.

But foremost, they want justice. They want the perpetrators to be prosecuted and to confess their crimes. And they want their sons to learn that men should never do this to women.

How can PROOF make a difference?
PROOF is in a unique position to make an impact. Through visual and verbal storytelling, we can spread the message and words of survivors of human rights abuses. And by partnering with organizations working on peacebuilding, we can help bring justice to them.


In the News


Our New Website: It's a Beauty!

PROOF's new homepage will include a monthly digital 'magazine' that highlights the latest projects PROOF is working on.

PROOF's new homepage will include a monthly digital 'magazine' that highlights the latest projects PROOF is working on.

We’ve just launched a redesign of our website that we hope you’ll think is truly spiffy! Smoother navigation, better integration of content, and engaging graphics and format—are all revamped to meet your needs.

The new site also provides flexibility for viewing across a range of device platforms, including smartphones and tablets. Check it out at proof.org and send us your thoughts.

We want to especially express our gratitude to our Creative Director Willhemina Wahlin for her outstanding leadership, creativity, and insight that made this achievement possible. Thank you, Willie!

PROOF has become a key voice in exposing human rights abuses that persist in many troubled areas. You can join the conversation through our blogs and Facebook and Twitter pages.

Bookmark our Latest News blog to keep updated on all the latest events, exhibitions and more:
 -- http://proof.org/latest-news/

Go to our social media spots on Facebook and Twitter:


Stéphane Hessel and Angélica Bello: 
a Life Fulfilled and a Tragic Loss

The end of two very different lives in two profoundly different ways underscores the pain and the promise inherent to human rights activism.

Stéphane Hessel. Photo: lapress.ca.

Stéphane Hessel. Photo: lapress.ca.

Stéphane Hessel, human rights advocate
On February 27, the world lost one of the most preeminent human rights advocates. Stéphane Hessel, ambassador, policymaker, global thinker, and writer, died in Paris at age 95. (insert photo: Attribution:  lapress.ca )

When “The Rescuers” exhibition traveled to Geneva last year, Leora had the opportunity to have dinner with Dr. Hessel.

At 94 years old, he was an inspiring dinner companion. Besides his shining compassion and humanity -- and ability to recite Shakespeare -- he articulated a clear vision of the world as it relates to human rights.  

“When Stéphane toured the exhibition, he told me how important the concept of the rescuer is in this world. He wished they had been more plentiful during World War II,” she said.

“We talked about the implications of moral courage today as a tool for preventing genocide,” she continued, “which embraces PROOF's vision of a world of upstanders.”

Angélica Bello. Photo: Amnesty International

Angélica Bello. Photo: Amnesty International

Angélica Bello, Colombian activist and survivor
While we are deeply involved in addressing sexual violence in conflict zones, the recent death of Angélica Bello raises the stakes in the fight for human rights to include life itself.

Bello was a 45-year-old human rights defender and survivor of sexual violence who died in her home on February 16.

Though the official cause was suicide, she had been the victim of threats and attacks so severe the government had given her two security guards and a bullet-proof car.

 “When the men abused me, beat me, the first thing they warned me was not to report it. They said that I should look at them in the face because I could see them again at any moment.”

Why? Because she exposed sexual violence, including acts committed against her daughters and herself.

Together with organizations such as Amnesty International, we urge the Colombian government to conduct an impartial investigation of Bello’s death to ensure that human rights defenders in Colombia can continue their work in safety and without fear.

 
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Save the Date for Our Annual Benefit Auction

May 30-- write it down ‘cause that's the date! Whether you’ve been hunting for an original photograph to dress up a bare wall or simply want to surround yourself with beautiful art, come join us for the fun. The event will be in New York City—find details on our auction page.

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Call for Entries for Emerging Photojournalist Award

We'll be giving out awards to three emerging photojournalists.

For more information on entry details and guidelines, click here, or to enter your work, click here.