Security and Governance

Screening of “Fighting the Silence” at the Dutch Foreign Ministry

Introduction: Staff from Population Action International are presenting “The Shape of Things to Come: Why Age Structure Matters to a Safer, More Equitable World” at several events in Europe.  Join Tyler LePard, PAI’s Media Manager, for an inside look!

Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Our first stop on the European tour was The Netherlands. We were invited by the World Population Fund
(WPF) to present “The Shape of Things to Come.” Amy Coen, Claudia
Kennedy, Tod Preston, Liz Leahy and I arrived in The Hague on December
2, met WPF staff for dinner and got ready for today.

Before our event, we were invited to attend a screening of a new
documentary at the Dutch Foreign Ministry.

One of the filmmakers was
present to introduce her provocative film about rape in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC)…

Fighting the Silence: Sexual Violence against women in Congo
explores sexual violence in a culture that traditionally doesn’t
acknowledge such a thing.  Three women feature prominently in the film
– a community educator and two rape survivors.  The educator organizes
discussions about rape with various groups – men, women, children and
soldiers.  The two survivors share their personal experiences and the
effects on their families.  One says that rape “is shameful, a taboo…
it doesn’t exist here.”  The women’s husbands no longer wanted them
around after what happened to them.

Many believe that foreign soldiers introduced rape as a way of
destroying the Congo, but sexual violence continues to be a problem in
the country.  There is now a law against sexual violence in the DRC,
but this film makes clear that there is much more work to be done to
combat gender inequality and sexual violence.

“Fighting the Silence” recently premiered at Amsterdam’s International Documentary Film Festival
Ilse and Femke van Velzen (twin filmmakers) intend to show the film
worldwide, starting a global discussion on sexual violence.  Mobile
cinemas will be used to show the film in the Congo so that the people
there can help choose which parts of the film are best to show at
different screenings for policymakers, villagers, international
peacemakers and other audiences.

“Fighting the Silence” is a very moving documentary, on par with PAI’s own award-winning advocacy films; watch the trailer below.


Tyler LePard, Media Manager

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