The Power of Women

Denis Mukwege

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.”

Dr. Mukwege has seen unimaginable destruction, witnessed pain that should never be felt – and has saved countless lives at the risk of nearly losing his own in several failed assassination attempts at his home and hospital. His tireless work to heal survivors of sexual violence in his war-torn country of Congo has led him to become a global champion of women’s rights.

Part autobiography, part rallying cry against sexual violence in peace-time and in war, Dr. Mukwege explores how he became an activist by accident, but has stayed one out of necessity, seeking throughout to spotlight the extraordinary women who have shaped and inspired him.

It is a story about struggle and suffering, but it is also one of hope and resilience. Dr. Mukwege has seen thousands of women on the brink of death and has heard their harrowing stories – but he has also witnessed them heal, buy land, start businesses, and help rebuild their shattered communities. His work has also seen him travel across the world, making him aware of the striking similarities in women’s experiences of violence.

The Power of Women amplifies the stories of survivors to provide an arresting and deeply compelling call to action that reinforces the messages of the #MeToo movement. Dr. Mukwege explains that corruption, cruelty and global indifference have sustained two decades of conflict in his country, but he argues throughout that the rape crisis in Congo is inextricably linked to the mistreatment of women in homes and on streets in all parts of the world.

He also addresses men, encouraging and guiding them to become allies in the fight against sexual abuse. Through his personal example and his ideas, he hopes to inspire a new form of “positive masculinity” – a change in male behavior and attitudes that will help build more inclusive, gender-balanced societies. Dr. Mukwege believes other men must join the struggle.

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