The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo
2007, 76 minutes, Color, DVD, French, Swahili, Lingala, Mashi, Subtitled
Order No. W09930
Winner of the Sundance Special Jury Prize in Documentary and the inspiration for a 2008 U.N. Resolution classifying rape as a weapon of war, this extraordinary film, shot in the war zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), shatters the silence that surrounds the use of sexual violence as a weapon of conflict. Many tens of thousands of women and girls have been systematically kidnapped, raped, mutilated and tortured by soldiers from both foreign militias and the Congolese army. A survivor of gang rape herself, Emmy Award®-winning filmmaker Lisa F. Jackson travels through the DRC to understand what is happening and why.
Produced in association with HBO Documentary Films and the Fledgling Fund, this film features interviews with activists, peacekeepers, physicians, and even-chillingly-the indifferent rapists who are soldiers of the Congolese Army. Harrowing moments of the film come as dozens of survivors recount their stories with an honesty and immediacy that is pulverizing in its intimacy and detail, but this powerful film also provides inspiring examples of resiliency, resistance, courage and grace.
**Emmy Award Nominee for Outstanding Informational Programming: Long Form and Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writing**
AWARDS, FESTIVALS, & SCREENINGS
||Sundance Film Festival, Special Jury Prize: Documentary
||Gracie Award, Outstanding Documentary - Long Format
||Emmy Award Nominee in Outstanding Informational Programming: Long Form and Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Writing
||London Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Best of Fest
||One World Slovakia Doc Film Festival, Best of Fest
||Int'l Black DocuFest, Best Human Rights Watch Documentary
||Roma Independent Film Festival, Best Documentary
||Reel Awareness Amnesty Int'l Human Rights FF, Best Documentary
- Int'l Film Forum & Festival on Human Rights, Geneva
- Rwanda Film Festival
- Human Rights Watch Int'l Film Festival, NY
- Seattle Human Rights Watch Film Festival
- Montreal Human Rights Film Festival
- One World Int'l Human Rights Doc Film Festival, Prague
- San Francisco Human Rights Watch Int'l Film Festival
- Full Frame Doc Film Festival
- High Falls Film Festival
- Indianapolis Film Festival
- Addis Int'l Film Festival on Rights and Justice, Addis Ababa
- Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Pravo Ljudski Human Rights Film Festival
- Human Rights Watch Int'l Traveling Film Festival, Int'l House, PA
- Women's Film Festival, VT
- Cinema Arts Centre, NY
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“Highly Recommended. Jackson has created an extraordinary document that gives voice to the silent, and that asks the profound question ‘If a society can’t protect women and kids, what kind of society is that?"
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Patricia B. McGee
Educational Media Reviews Online
“Captures the stark reality of women’s and girls’ suffering and untold courage… You will never think about conflict in gender-neutral terms again.”
Int’l Rescue Committee, Gender-based Violence Technical Advisor
"4 Stars. A moving, powerful, and deeply disturbing documentary. ...fills a crucial information void...Highly Recommended, Editor's Choice"
"This film will long endure. A brave, extraordinary film in the great, courageous tradition of all who've spoken up for the rights of women for centuries."
Adam Hochschild, Award-winning Author
King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa
“Impressive…shows not only in candid and unapologetic detail the psychological trauma and horror endured by individual rape survivors, but also its broader cultural implications.”
Jeffrey W. Mantz
Dept. of Sociology & Anthropology, George Mason University
“Exceptional lensing throughout this distressing and disturbing documentary.”
“Harrowing and heart-rending and maddening and confounding.”
Los Angeles Times
"[A] documentary of the highest calling."
The Hollywood Reporter
"An important tool for waking up the sleeping consciousness of humanity that continues to allow such injustices on women and children to go unchecked and unreported."
NY State Coalition Against Sexual Assault
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The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo is included in the following Special Collections.
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THE GREATEST SILENCE: RAPE IN THE CONGO, official website
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Watch the trailer, learn more about the filmmaker, visit the photo gallery.
Review in Variety
Review in the Los Angeles Times
Open Society Institute Panel Discussion with Special Guests
Hear the filmmaker and experts on the issue, including Bernard Kalume—one of the film’s subjects—discuss causes and solutions to this human rights crisis.
Should Rape Be Considered a Weapon?
NPR’s “Day to Day” interviews Lisa F. Jackson about how her film has helped to raise awareness of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
The New York Times, “Victims’ Words Help Jolt Congo Into Change”
Read about how awareness campaigns and the U.N. resolution inspired by Jackson’s film has led to recent steps toward justice and protecting women in the Congo in this October 17, 2008 front-page article.
Oprah Magazine, “Giving Back to the Women of the Congo”
The Panzi Hospital of Bukavu
Visit the official website of the hospital featured in the film. Read more about Dr. Mukwege,the history of the hospital, and ways to get involved.
Women for Women International
Learn more about the issues, read about those working for change in the Congo, and get involved.
Friends of the Congo
Learn more about the latest news and issues affecting the DRC.
The federal government source for women's health information
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN)