When Lauren Wolfe reported on a war crime in eastern Congo, she could hardly have expected that her piece in TheGuardian would result in an arrest. Wolfe is an award winning journalist who has been covering trauma and sexual violence for the better part of her career. She’s a columnist for Foreign Policy and director of Women Under Siege, which is a journalistic endeavor founded by Gloria Steinem as part of the Women’s Media Center to investigate how rape and gender based violence are used as tools of conflict.
About a week before we spoke Lauren wrote about a Congolese militia that terrorized a small town in the eastern part of the country by systematically raping babies and toddlers. It is a gut wrenching read, but her piece had an immediate impact on the ground–the militia leader and his men were arrested hours later.
We kick off discussing that story, and go back to discuss Wolfe’s life and career, which has been mostly devoted to reporting on trauma. Among other stories she covered 9-11 and its aftermath for the New York Times.
This is a pretty heavy episode, but not without its lighter moments. Lauren opens up in a pretty profound way about why she feels so compelled to cover violence and trauma. It was a true honor to speak with her.