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Sexual Assault - International

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Fighting the Silence
Sexual Violence against Women in the Congo
Netherlands/Congo, 2007, 53 minutes, Color, DVD, French, Subtitled
Order No. W111029
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s seven year war was the deadliest ever recorded in Africa. During that time, more than 80,000 women and girls were raped. Only now that the country is formally at peace are the consequences of the brutality becoming truly visible. Rape is slowly seeping into everyday life.

FIGHTING THE SILENCE tells the story of ordinary Congolese women and men that are struggling to change their society: one that prefers to blame victims rather than prosecute rapists. Rape survivors and their families speak out openly about the suffering they endured because their culture considers women second class citizens and rape a taboo. They give voice to thousands of other survivors and their families who have chosen to hide their grief and remain silent for fear of being rejected by their families and community.

Girls and women survivors tell of the brutality they experienced. Married couples openly talk about the pain they endure. Husbands talk of the pressures that led them to abandon their wives and why they agreed to take them back. A father explains why he has given up on his daughter’s future and how he wishes he could afford to take her rapist to court. Soldiers and policemen share their (shocking) views about why rape continues to flourish despite the war having officially ended four years ago.


  • Millenium Film Festival, Jury Award
  • Al Jazeera International Film Festival, Jury Award
  • Sucre Human Rights Film Festival Bolivia, Jury Award
  • Docupolis Spain, Best Documentary
  • Watchdoc Human Rights Film Festival Poland, Best Documentary

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    Fighting the Silence is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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© Women Make Movies, 2005
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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us