When Bailey Cato heard that women in Darfur, Sudan, had to wake up every morning and decide whether to go forage for food and risk being raped, or to send out another family member and risk their death in order to stay alive, she could hardly imagine being placed in that situation.
"Every day, these women are forced to make this decision," said Cato, a political science and criminology senior at the University of Oklahoma and member of Students for Action in Darfur. "'I'm going to go out and get raped, because that's the best option for my family.' Are you kidding me? That's allowed to happen?"
Tension had been rising in Darfur between the Arab and non-Arab groups for many years. The government has been accused of responding by attacking the citizenswith the help of an Arab militia which uses rape and displacement to crush the Dafurians' rebellion.
The camps that now house displaced Darfurians lack the necessary resources to keep the occupants alive, thus causing families to make choices about who to send for water. When a Dafurian leaves the camp, members of the militia attack the forager.
Four years after it began, the conflict rages on. More than 400,000 are dead and 2.5 million displaced, according to the Genocide Intervention Network.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Cato believes part of the reason for the continued genocide is people's ignorance.
"Trying to overcome apathy and ignorance is a difficult thing," Cato said.
For those wanting to get involved, Cato advised calling representatives and writing letters to the White House.
"Little steps are what is going to end up making a difference in this campaign," Cato said. "Krista Nightengale