Tired of the trauma of civil war in which warlords rampaged throughout their country recruiting child soldiers and committing brutal human rights violations, the women of Liberia decided they had had enough and called a sex strike.
At the time in Liberia, staging a protest, even a protest in which women merely sang and held signs calling for the war to end was gravely dangerous and raised the ire of Liberia’s leader Charles Taylor. It was within this sit-in protest that the idea for a sex strike was devised.
Women would return home and let their husbands know that, as women had so little power to effect political change, they would do what they could in a domestic setting and withhold sex, asking their husbands to demand peace alongside them. An end to the war meant a beginning of enjoyment for married couples again.
The documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell 2008 documents the bravery and determination of a few key individuals who started with a small act of attempting reconciliation between religions within their local community which led to a national peace movement.
Pray the Devil Back to Hell is screening within the film program (Wednesday 27 May 6:00pm) ‘Micro Strategies to Change the World’ which runs at GOMA until 30 May. The film program celebrates grass roots actions of individuals within their own communities who act to stop violence or oppression. These small acts, or micro strategies, ripple out to have much bigger human rights consequences.
You might also be interested in viewing the trailers for the remaining films in the program: Is music the instrument of change in Favela Rising | Can a soap opera save a nation? See The Team | Courageous Wangari Maathai begins a green movement by planting trees in Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai | Resilience, humour and wisdom of orphans of the South African HIV epidemic in Angels in the Dust