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Congo: The Doctor Who Saves Women
A film by Angèle Diabang
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Dr. Denis Mukwege is a gynecologist and the founder of Panzi, a hospital whose primary mission is treating women who have been raped - casualties in the Democratic Republic of Congo's decades-long war. At the hospital, in the Kivu district of the country, Mukwege and his mostly female team provide reconstructive surgery and psychological counseling, as well as literacy and other programs designed to help patients reintegrate into a society that has a history of shaming and ostracizing rape survivors.

From Senegalese filmmaker Angèle Diabang, CONGO: THE DOCTOR WHO SAVES WOMEN offers the intimate testimonies of women who have been treated at Panzi, along with the perspectives of psychologists and doctors who work there.

Huddled on a bench in a corridor, facing the wall, Annie-Francoise recounts how her family rejected her after she was raped by a militiaman; she is pregnant and hopes to go back to school after having her baby. Regina stares straight ahead and describes how her husband threw her out after she was raped by several soldiers. They are among the thousands of women treated at Panzi, where the model of care is female-centered. In addition to formal therapy, women participate in communal activities. By cooking, singing, and washing together, these shared daily tasks become therapeutic.

Mukwege and others call the rape epidemic in the DRC a crime of war. The widespread sexual assaults create a climate of terror that rival groups use to their advantage - with the ultimate goal of laying their hands on valuable resources.

Through the work of Dr Mukwege, the film highlights the atrocities perpetrated on Congolese women, but also offers vivid accounts of their resilience and determination to not be defined by the crimes committed against them.

“Powerful and deeply disturbing... Highly recommended.”Video Librarian

World Languages Film Festival
  

52 minutes / color
Release: 2015
Copyright: 2014
Sale: $348

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa, Health Care Issues, Human Rights, Women's Health

Related Links:
The Films of Angèle Diabang

Related Titles:
Congo in Four Acts: A quartet of short films (on one dvd) that lay bare the reality of everyday life in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Everything's Fine: Seydou Konaté is a doctor in a remote area in Mali. But he is at the center of a global issue: bringing quality health care to rural people left behind by development.

Against My Will: The stories of three women who took refuge at the Dastak women's shelter in Pakistan, founded to help women fleeing abusive and murderous families.

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Last Updated May 27, 2016
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