Since 1998 a brutal war has been raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Over 4 million people have died. And there are the uncountable casualties: the many tens of thousands of women and girls who have been systematically kidnapped, raped, mutilated and tortured by soldiers from both foreign militias and the Congolese army.Before the last few years, I had never thought of rape as a weapon of war. I thought of it as something that invariably occurred during war, as part of a larger power struggle, but never as a systematic assault with consequences that affect so many.
The world knows nothing of these women. Their stories have never been told. They suffer and die in silence. In The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo these brave women finally speak.
I've learned a lot from BfP's posts, many of them archived in the nation/state violence category. Prof BW's analysis, I think, is embodied in her hope that this film:
covers the issues of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war in the Congo not as exceptional or part of a racialized narrative, which has been the way these issues have been presented to date, but rather as part of an increasingly astute understanding of how women’s bodies are part of the battleground in wars around the world. I am looking for this, not to erase the specificity of the violence in the Congo, which is a necessary part of any analysis, but rather to develop a language of addressing sexual violence that deals with its use as a tool of war throughout history and allows us to deal with the specific use against, and experience of, women in any given place.Historiann talks a bit about the history Prof BW mentions here.
Here is the trailer for the film:
It premieres tonight at 9 PM my time, which is 10 Eastern.