Amy Ernst, a rape-crisis counselor and medical advocate who has been working with survivors and perpetrators of rape in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will speak at the University of St. Thomas on Monday, April 2. Her talk, “Women, War and Rape in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” will be held from 8 to 9:30 p.m. in the 3M Auditorium, Owens Science Hall, on the university’s St. Paul campus.

For the past two years, Ernst has served as a volunteer for COPERMA − a local NGO (nongovernmental organization) − and as a partner with the United Nations Mission in Congo, where she has worked with victims of sexual violence, Mayi-Mayi (community-based armed groups), FDLR (Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda) rebels and accused rapists in the Butembo prison to raise awareness about the harmful effects of rape and violence.

A freelance humanitarian, Ernst earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Colorado College and plans to pursue a master’s degree this fall. She is a guest writer for Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times blog “On the Ground,” and is working on a book based on her experiences in Congo. A Washington, D.C., native, she now calls Chicago home.

Read more about Ernst and her advocacy on her personal blog.

The talk, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Justice and Peace Studies program at St. Thomas and is co-sponsored by the university’s Luann Dummer Center for Women.

For more information contact Dr. Gerald Schlabach, Justice and Peace Studies program, (651) 962-5332.