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Cindy McCain teams up with Ben Affleck to highlight violence in Congo

Cindy McCain and Ben Affleck arrive prior to testifying on Congo before the House Africa, Global Health and Human Rights Subcommittee in Washington, DC, March 8, 2011. Getty

(CBS/AP) Cindy McCain is teaming up with actor Ben Affleck to help draw attention to violence against women in Congo, as well as that country's upcoming presidential election.

Pictures: Ben Affleck

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 widespread 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 secure Africa helps the United States.

"It's one less front we have to worry about and plus it's the right thing to do," she said.

McCain is a part of Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), which aids grass-roots groups in Congo. ECI focuses on children soldiers, economic development, health, reconciliation, and sexual abuse. 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."

McCain is not new to Congo as she was there in 1994 performing medical aid work.