Professor to discuss genocide and rape in Darfur on WPSU

July 28, 2009

Professor from Penn State Altoona talked to women in African refugee camps

University Park, Pa. -- The United States Government has labeled the conflict in Darfur, Sudan as genocide. The conflict has created hundreds of thousands of refugees and torn apart the social fabric of communities across the region. Lee Ann De Reus, a professor at Penn State Altoona, traveled to a refugee camp in Chad to record the experiences of women impacted by this trauma. She will share her experiences in central Africa on the next "Conversations from Penn State."

"If you destroy the women, even if it's emotionally and psychologically, then you have a much better opportunity and chance…of taking over a country," said De Reus. "It’s a way to demoralize an entire village and then gain access and take over…so by attacking women you have positioned yourself better to be able to take the spoils of war."

"Conversations from Penn State" is a new series, hosted by veteran interviewer Patty Satalia. The program offers thoughtful, in-depth exchanges with a broad range of remarkable people. In many cases, their trailblazing work has advanced their field and drawn national and worldwide attention.

De Reus gathered stories from 25 women at the Gaga Refugee Camp in Chad. She says the women were eager to discuss their lives with an American researcher, who also happened to be a complete stranger. "I have a capacity for being able to handle difficult situations, humanitarian crises and I also feel a moral and ethical responsibility on some level to give back as a privileged person from the West," said De Reus.

The show will air on the Big Ten Network at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4. The show will re-air on the Big Ten Network at 3 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5. The show also will air on WPSU-TV at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6. The show also can be viewed at

Lee Ann De Reus is an associate professor of human development and family studies and women's studies at Penn State Altoona. She lectures about genocide and is the co-founder of Save Darfur: Central PA. In 2008, De Reus was the recipient of the first-ever Penn State University Spirit of Internationalization Award, given in honor of her commitment to global service and outreach.

For more than 20 years, Patty Satalia has engaged dynamic individuals from all walks of life and areas of expertise. No matter the guest, Satalia approaches each conversation with the same dedication to research and with a passion for helping people share their stories and insights with the world.

WPSU serves central Pennsylvania with programming, educational services and community outreach. Its public media services produce, acquire and distribute programs that address local interests and reflect the diverse cultural, political, geographic and demographic characteristics of an audience within central Pennsylvania.


Last Updated August 05, 2009