Affleck, Cindy McCain in Congo to Highlight Violence
Sexual assault a huge problem in central African country
JASON STRAZIUSO Associated Press
July 21, 2011NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) -- Cindy McCain is teaming up with actor Ben Affleck to try to bring more attention to violence against women in Congo, as well as that country's upcoming presidential election.
McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain, wrapped up a five-day trip to Congo and East Africa early Thursday. During her visit she met with community organizations that help women deal with sexual violence, which is rampant in the large central African nation.
She also investigated whether the International Republican Institute, which her husband chairs, should get involved with November's election.
"When you talk about sexual violence against women in a country that's fledgling and trying to hold elections, it can affect elections," McCain told The Associated Press. "If the election becomes violent, women can be targeted."
McCain said a stable Africa helps the U.S.
"It's one less front we have to worry about and plus it's the right thing to do," she said.
McCain, who first carried out medical aid work in Congo in 1994, is a part of Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative, which aids grass-roots groups in Congo. The two will travel to Congo in November for the election.
"I'm thrilled to be working with him, number one, and I've learned a great deal with him because he's a guy that gets the issues," McCain said of her partnership with the Hollywood star. "I enjoy being around him. We don't talk politics. We talk about African politics. And we both talk about our family. It's a very normal friendship."
(This version CORRECTS day of week.)