From Nobel laureate, world-renowned doctor, and noted human rights activist Dr. Denis Mukwege comes an inspiring clarion call-to-action to confront the scourge of sexual violence and better learn from women’s resilience, strength, and power.
At the heart of Dr. Mukwege’s message will be the voices of the many women he has worked with over the years. Dr. Mukwege will use individual cases to reassure all survivors that, even if their psychological wounds may never fully heal, they can recover and thrive with the right care and support.
Dr. Mukwege’s dramatic personal story is interwoven throughout as he explores the bigger issues that have become a focus of his advocacy. He will seek to explain why sexual violence is so often overlooked during war, 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.
His words advocate for saying ‘no’ to indifference and he asks readers to reckon with the West’s involvement in perpetuating sexual violence in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, and to confront the abuse taking place in their own communities.
Sexual violence does not occur in a vacuum. The conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has raged for over 20 years and has claimed an estimated 5 million lives, is inseparable from Western patriarchy and economic colonization. And this cycle of violence and spoils is not limited to Congo. Dr. Mukwege’s work has led him to South Korea, Latin America, the Middle East, and elsewhere in Africa, where he has found striking similarities in women’s testimonies.
The truth is, through the intricate ties of the global economy, we are all implicated in violence against women – whether it occurs amidst the fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo or on college campuses in the West. And Dr. Mukwege’s writing will address men as well, encouraging and guiding them to become allies in the fight against sexual abuse, 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, drawing from his experience and a wealth of research on the topic, that when women are involved as economic and political decision makers, all of society benefits.