The Power of Women

Denis Mukwege

proposal in English Original publisher: Flatiron Books

In his Nobel acceptance speech, Dr. Mukwege dedicated the prize to “all victims of sexual violence across the world. (…) Taking action is a choice. Taking action means saying ‘no’ to indifference.”

In The Power of Women, Dr. Mukwege will seek to explain why sexual violence is so often overlooked, and how governments need to recognize and compensate victims. He will also stress the importance of breaking down the taboos surrounding assault, and the necessity of building a system that supports women who come forward.

At the heart of Dr. Mukwege’s book will be the voices of the many women he has worked with over the years. Dr. Mukwege will show the enduring strength of women in the face of violence and trauma, and the potential of individuals to turn the tide.

Sexual violence does not occur in a vacuum. The book will also force readers to reckon with the West’s involvement in perpetuating sexual violence in places like Congo – where conflict is fueled by a desire for natural resources – and to confront the abuse taking place in their own communities.

Dr. Mukwege’s work has led him to South Korea, Latin America, the Middle East, and elsewhere in Africa, as well in the West, where he has found striking similarities in women’s testimonies.

Dr. Mukwege’s writing will also address men, encouraging and guiding them to become allies in the fight against sexual abuse, in both in war and in peace. Building more inclusive, gender-balanced societies will require developing what he calls “positive masculinity” – a systemic change in male behavior and attitudes towards women. Dr. Mukwege hopes to inspire other men to speak out and join the struggle, rather than leaving women to fight the battle alone. He will also make the case that when women are involved as economic and political decision makers, all of society benefits.

The countless women that Dr. Mukwege has worked with him call him their savior. Dr. Mukwege is quick to point out, however, that they, the women, are the heroines of this story.